Make your way to Paragon, 290 Orchard Road, where good taste stands out. With a huge offering of luxury brands, Paragon delivers from the magnificently over-the-top to understated chic. Make a stop at Cortina Watch who has been around since 1972 and prides itself on its credibility. Internationally recognised as the leading retailer and distributor of luxury timepieces and accessories in the Asia Pacific, let the expertise of their staff cut out the tiring ordeal of having to visit individual boutiques to help you select your perfect luxury timepiece from their extensive collection. Their reliable and delightful customer service and authenticity has made Cortina a watch buyers’ hub. Chopard and Cartier win the popularity contest for women’s watches.
Feel like Cinderella and take a step into Jimmy Choo’s Swarovski bejewelled bridal collection slippers or take advantage of the full ‘Made to Order’ experience where you can choose from a dazzling array of leather, crystal or snake swatches. Hand pick your own heel from the dizzying perch to the more sensible kitten. The final touch is the date and your initials placed on the sole.
Not all Gucci stores are created equal; Gucci’s Paragon store offers edgy homewares and a Gucci DIY service where selected products can be individualised for you.
The choices are intoxicating.
Paragon is not just a shopping temple for women. Now that men don’t have to wear a business suit five days a week, Ermenegildo Zegna is changing the vision, introducing men to exquisite tailored sportswear all the way up to more bold runaway styles which push the boundaries. Customers can begin their experience at this luxurious flagship store by exploring the Z ZEGNA collection perfect for urban trendsetters, and ultimately reach the intimate spaces of the Couture and Made to Measure rooms for an outfit that fits like a glove. Don’t miss Zegna’s exclusive collaborative collections such as the Ermenegildo Zegna x Maserati Capsule Collection which is a big hit.
Head to the Brunello Cucinelli store next. This Italian brand may be well known for making timeless cashmere jumpers in classic colour palettes but it also produces some wonderfully luxurious casual wear for the man on the go. The most popular fashion wear at this store include jersey jogger pants, sports jackets in suede and leather sneakers. Whatever they buy, shoppers can be sure every piece can be passed down for generations to come.
Defining the art of writing for over 110 years, Montblanc melds classic design with modern innovation. But that’s not all, the company now crafts sophisticated timepieces, leather goods, eyewear and jewellery. Find a wide range of Montblanc products in the Paragon store where shoppers can engrave or emboss their purchases on the spot for the most convenient of personal touches.
All that shopping can work up an appetite so make sure you reserve a table at Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant Crystal Jade for a bite. With Orchard MRT station only a five-minute walk away from Paragon, you can take extra long at lunch and be at your next destination in no time at all.
There’s so much to see, and Paragon realises how exhausting shopping can be. A limo service is on standby for customers who spend S$2,000 and those who make it to S$3,000 can select one of Adeva Spa’s signature sessions.
This is no ordinary spa and worth a visit for its signature treatment – the Triplex Massage which incorporates relaxing Swedish strokes with Shiatsu pressure points and Tui Na – deep tissue traditional Chinese manipulation developed from Taoist principles. I pride myself on my high pain threshold, but it took some gurning and gnashing of teeth to endure some of these moves. After a visit to Adeva Spa, you’ll be refreshed, re-energised and ready for another round of shopping.
MARINA BAY SANDS
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands ranks itself as one of the most aspirational shopping destinations on the global map, offering shoppers 800,000 square feet of retail space under one roof – 15 duplex stores, unrivalled customer service and late-night shopping till 11.30pm, all worthy reasons to indulge in retail therapy. If you’re into shopping centres, this one is special.
The architecture is inspiring with expansive glass windows illuminating the interiors in natural light and a 150-metre canal which welcomes visitors for a sampan ride through the retail belt. 170 of the 270 retail outlets offer luxury and premium brands, making the retail destination one of the luxe giants in the region. Louis Vuitton achieves the almost impossible by taking the customer on an extraordinary journey.
Transported by signature silk scarf hot air balloons, you enter the incredible “Island Maison” housed in the Crystal Pavilion with views over the marina and skyline. The LV brand is brought into sharp focus; immaculate craftsmanship creates collectible trunks and customised luggage within reach of dreams you didn’t even know you had. Make an appointment with Chiara Raffaele who will be able to conceptualise and facilitate your personal LV odyssey from handbag to jewellery to ready-to-wear. This is a legacy brand and you will not be disappointed by your Singapore experience.
Moving on to Singapore’s favourite pastime (no pun intended), watches are the order of the day. Hublot, World Cup sponsors for the past eight years, present their flagship store. These stunning timepieces have a sporty feel. Having coveted a Hublot for some years, handling these gorgeously crafted watches was pure pleasure and gazing into their Swiss precision transparent mechanisms was pure delight… sigh. The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands offers the best choice and breadth for Hublot in Singapore.
Roger Dubuis’ Singapore flagship store at The Shoppes presents high-end pieces not for the faint-hearted. Swiss perfection aside, these pieces are extravagant and blinging. DJ Khaled graces the cover of GQ magazine sporting a Roger Dubuis.
Newly opened Korean designer glasses brand Gentle Monster is a must-do stop. Their signature in-store art installation is edgy and provocative, pushing the boundaries of what we expect from our retail experience. Sci-fi meets eyewear and it’s great fun to mess around with trends that you literally wear on your face. Hip staff are happy to share the fun of amazingly cool sunglasses.
Piaget invites you into their sophisticated European boutique where it’s almost impossible not to be dazzled by their ultra-slender line of elegant Swiss watches. Those clever jewellers have come up with bangles from the Possession collection that may be worn with (or without) their elegant timepieces. These are exquisite sophisticated pieces that will last for generations.
Don’t miss nipping to perfumier Henry Jacques – a handcrafted precious slice of Parisienne perfection. The finest of the finest 50 signature scents are available in sublime crystal bottles. Or go for the full bespoke perfume adventure and work with the passionate staff who will expertly guide you through the inception of your own truly exclusive scent.
Apart from a brand new Hermes duplex at The Shoppes, shoppers can also look forward to luxury powerhouses Moncler and Philipp Plein launching their biggest stores in Asia and Southeast Asia respectively next year, in the form of stunning duplexes.
SINGAPORE’S ARTISANAL DELIGHTS
Singapore is not only about global brands and shopping on an extravagant scale. We explored the artisans emerging in this shopping mecca who are keen to promote their individual style and the revival and celebration of Singaporean heritage.
Plan a visit to the ‘Keepers’ at the National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road. Keepers is a curated community of Singaporean designers. The Keepers concept promotes a space where both contemporary and traditional Singaporean artisans are encouraged to exhibit their creations and designs via this mixed tenant-use model. Keep an eye on @keeperssg on Instagram for their biggest popup event yet, scheduled for mid-January 2019.
We loved Onlewo and their retro-inspired fabrics and wallpapers. Try on Carrie K’s ingenious stacking rings inspired by Peranakan tiles and the Malay songket collection.
If you think of jade jewellery as being a bit “Aunty” at Chinese New Year, think again. Drop by Choo Yilin tucked away on the second floor of the Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road. The “Asian Royal Gem” has been reinterpreted to make it modern, relevant and desirable to the younger generation. Favouring up-to-the-minute translucent icy white jadeite, beautifully crafted earrings and bangles interwoven with fine metalwork, jade marks every stage of a woman’s life from leaving school to first career, marriage and beyond. The Asian heritage of collecting jade is revived.
Head over to A Gentleman’s Tale located in a container showroom at 299 River Valley Road complete with ‘Mobile Suit Unit’ parked outside. (For no extra charge they will come to you!) Business partners Kenneth Chia and Lyn Chan share their proud work ethics. He literally grew up in a fabric factory whilst she comes with ten years’ experience with luxury French brand Lanvin. His technical expertise and design eye allied with her knowledge of fashion and marketing, has created great energy and a cool approach to high quality tailor-made suits and professional wear.
They work alongside clients, encouraging them to create their own mood board so they can design and deliver without disappointment. Customers from 6 to 90 years old will find themselves in capable hands as they are guided through the style, structure, durability and drape of fabrics. An initial ‘baste’ fitting will follow extensive measurements to ensure the right look and that proportions are on track. The finished ‘Bar’ fitting will follow once all subtle details, buttons, and lapel proportions have been selected. A Gentleman’s Tale is not just for men; it brings a professional fun tailoring service bang up to date.
Have a great time at Bynd Artisan in Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Road, making your own bespoke notebook. Choose from leatherettes, wooden finishes or canvas covers, add a spine or spring in a variety of colours, emboss your name or a motivational message – within 20 minutes an elegant notebook will be yours. With immaculate service and crisp expensive-looking packaging, this is a wonderful place to make customised gifts.
Pop into Foundation Jewellers, 11 Cavenagh Road at the Holiday Inn for a breathtaking rediscovery of Peranakan jewellery. Proprietor Caroline Tay, descendant of a traditional goldsmith’s family, has been in business for 41 years – she truly is the real deal.
Foundation has been commissioned to make bespoke pieces for Queen Elizabeth and Michelle Obama on behalf of the Singapore government. The Peranakan Association is delighted that Queen Elizabeth has attended an astonishing 23 public events sporting her ‘Bird of Paradise’ brooch, making it her most favoured piece of jewellery since it was gifted to her in 2012. Foundation is packed with absolutely stunning Peranakan-inspired jewellery. Exceptional workmanship using 18-carat gold and brilliant diamonds, blasts a fresh lease of life into the traditional motifs of flowers and birds, creating wonderful modern heritage pieces to be handed down to the next generation.