This week started on an explosive note—well, almost that is. It was evening and the traffic was chock-a-block on Wireless Road. My car was at a complete standstill and suddenly I noticed there was smoke coming from the car next to me on the left. The driver came out of his SUV and then people started running around. My first thought was I had to get away before the vehicle caught fire and exploded but hemmed in by other cars, I could not move. This could not be the end, I thought, I'm not ready to go! Then, like an answer to my prayer, the car in front started moving and I was off in a flash. Didn't hear a big bang so I assume the SUV didn't go up in flames in the end.
The week before it took me two and a half hours to drive from the Mandarin Oriental to the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit. Last week it took me one and a half hours to get from the office on Sathorn to Anantara Siam on Rajdamri. So guess who's all stressed out from driving? If only it were possible to get around everywhere by skytrain, I would. But that's just a pipe dream, so it's back behind the steering wheel for me.
Doi Tung & Friends Part Deux
Thailand is known to have fine artisanal craftsmen but to create products which are marketable one needs the expertise of those in the know. Last year, creative souls Kullawit Laosuksri and Sombatsara Teerasaroch started a project with ML Dispanadda Diskul of the Doi Tung Foundation to come up with products by well-known designers, including themselves. They sold out fast and this year saw the second edition of Doi Tung and Friends with chic outfits designed by Sanshai, Issue and Kloset using hill-tribe fabrics. Launched at Siam Paragon, the project includes other products that are sure to sell well again.
Something For Young Things From JT
More examples of Thai creativity and design were seen at the spring/summer 2018 fashion presentation of Jim Thompson. Since the rebranding of this classic Thai establishment by new CEO Gerald Mazzalovo, it has been coming out with a more contemporary style. The Thai silk clothes and accessories no longer look like those worn by khunyings and khunnais with big hair and of a certain age but good enough to appeal to globe-trotting millennials. The fashion show's highlight was the accompanying music produced by a lone musician performing on only percussion instrument, setting the mood and tone for the presentation.
One Big Lifestyle Jam
Thailand's leading real estate developer Sansiri has already gained some international recognition but it aims to be an established global name. And with this latest move, it is well on its way to this end. Sansiri president Srettha Thavisin and CEO Apichart Chutrakul announced their partnership with creative American hotel brand The Standard, trend-setting media and retail name Monocle and four other lifestyle groups to create projects to appeal to those looking for a new way to work, play, eat and travel. International media were flown in for the launch at the chill riverside Jam Factory.
Lunch With Nice Watches
Then there was a nice lunch at Il Fumo hosted by Glashutte Original to introduce its latest watch collection. Regional sales manager Wolgang Lackner started off as a watchmaker but moved into sales as a result of his amiable personality. After a week of stops in Asia, he was ready to return to Germany after Bangkok. Gems Pavilion also introduced its Deconic collection featuring art deco-inspired pieces at its boutique at Siam Paragon.
I receive loads of invitations each week (as you know) and do try to get to as many as possible, but even I had to almost give up last week. On Thursday alone I counted 12 events—and these were only the ones to which I had been invited. In the past I would have tried to go to five or six, but that day I could only make three. Oh dear, I hope that doesn't mean my age is beginning to catch up with me. Anyway, the day closed with an art and dance dinner in the beautiful gardens of the Portuguese ambassador's residence. Organised by Vararom Pachimsawat of the Friends of the Arts Foundation, the event presided by foundation hon chairman Anand Panyarachun was held to raise funds for its scholarship programme. Ambassador HE Francisco Vaz Patto and his spouse Dr Kevin Colleary were on hand to welcome guests to the romantic riverside venue and during cocktails, they were encouraged to check out the art and jewellery pieces for the silent auction. For dinner, we enjoyed Portuguese specialities highlighted by a mesmerising dance performance by the Olga Roriz company from Portugal.
Decked In White For A Renewed Robinson Club
The week ended with a trip down south for the opening of the rebranded Robinson Club Khao Lak. It is a huge sprawling beachside property with 320 rooms and 15 room types, ranging from beachfront or pool villas to bungalows and suites, with nine swimming pools. If you weren't in white (the dress code) for the opening party you would have stuck out like a sore body. Co-owner ML Vitya Chakrabandhu, a camera-shy person, was there with his family as well as members of the internationally-mixed Chakrabandhu clan. The evening was a feast of food, drinks and shows capped by fireworks at midnight. The next day we caught the evening flight back to Bangkok—enough time to get a night’s rest before the start of another hectic week.
(Revisit: Naphalai's Diary: October 30-November 5)