Just a week left to Christmas. For a country with almost 95 per cent of its population practising Buddhists, it is amazing to see how far this supposedly Christian tradition has taken hold of this country. I am no longer surprised that a kid in Isan or Mae Hong Son can sing Jingen Ben (Jingle Bells), while Christmas trees, holly, mistletoe and of, course, good old Santa Claus are everywhere to be seen, especially in shopping malls. But then, as they say, Thais will celebrate anything, and this is a great excuse for partying and having fun.
Happy 12th birthday, Siam Paragon!
The grandest celebration this past week was the party to mark the 12th anniversary of Siam Paragon. Who would have thought that the open area between the shops on the mezzanine level of the luxury retail mall could be turned into an event space as elegant as any hotel ballroom? With white curtains, stunning flower decorations by floral designer Sakul Intakul, a stage and long, beautifully set up tables, guests could easily forget they were dining in the middle of a shopping mall. As usual, managing director Chadatip Chutrakul gave a very eloquent speech before the food was served, each course catered by a different restaurant from the mall. The invitees enjoyed a show by songstress Chontida Asavahame, followed by a fashion presentation by Prapakas Ungsusing featuring Thai costumes inspired by 12 leading ladies in Thai literature.
A Visual Extravaganza In Bangkok
Then it was the turn of the Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard to make some noise, and they did so by organising a 3D projection mapping on the exterior of the 60-storey building. Guests were invited to Heaven Bangkok on the 18th floor of Zen at Central World opposite to see the spectacular display of lights and images created by the international Limelight team. The show is on five times each night from 7 pm, until December 31. Lending support to this project, which is meant to be a tourist highlight, are the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ratchaprasong Square Trade association, of which Magnolias is a member. Presiding over the presentation debut was Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul.
"Who says the best things come in small boxes?"
Another event which drew a large crowd and no less than 11 movie stars was the Cartier Red Box event at Siam Paragon. Gigantic Cartier red boxes were set up at the shopping mall—that’s so if you couldn’t afford the jeweller’s expensive trinkets, you could take a picture of yourself in one of the boxes and present that as a gift to your loved one. Cartier’s regional managing director for Southeast Asia and Oceania, Jerome Metzger, flew in for the opening.
The Number One House
Making its launch last week was House No 1, a neoclassical style mansion on Captain Bush Lane. Meticulously restored, the two-storey house since the days of King Rama V is a lovely spot for hosts looking for a unique venue for events. With small and larger rooms, there is also a garden that can take up to 500 guests. Best of all, there is private parking for 150 cars.
There were also some product events including the IWC Schaffhausen year-end celebration of time and watchmaking hosted by distributor Pendulum at the watch’s boutique at Siam Paragon. Meanwhile Rebecca Minkoff and Kate Spade presented their holiday collections at Central Chidlom. Both brands are represented by PAT Luxury Concept, and it was good to see co-founder Vikanda Patanabumrung, who lives in Singapore and is only occasionally in Bangkok, and her partner Porndet Chandawanitch.
Also holding a year-end celebration was Sansiri, whose invitation was accompanied by a bouquet of blue roses—so chic! Held at its flagship 98 Wireless, guests were taken to see the latest show suites before being led to the garden terrace, where CEO Apichart Chutrakul welcomed the attendees. Couldn’t stay for the delicious food as I was due at the Sukhothai for dinner to launch the newly renovated La Scala Italian restaurant. Together with Enzo and Theresa Peroni, general manager Thomas Schmitt-Glaeser hosted a lovely dinner paired with wines.
The week ended on Sunday with a wedding dinner for Portuguese ambassador HR Francisco Vaz Patto and Dr Kevin Colleary. The two had already celebrated their marriage in Lisbon in October, but this event was for their friends and colleagues in the diplomatic corps in Thailand. Held in the garden of the Portuguese residence, and with the temperature finally taking a dip, it was a romantic and perfect setting for the occasion. The corner of Moroccan food from the kitchen of Morrocan ambassador HE Abdelilah El Housni proved to be extremely popular. After the first dance by the couple, everyone got on the dance floor and refused to leave.
To end the week, here’s a picture of Star Wars storm troopers at Central World. It was for the opening of the latest Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi. I wasn’t invited to it, but happened to pass by just at the right time. Have a good new week!
(Revisit: Naphalai's Diary: December 4-10)