There is no better place to feel the spirit of Christmas than in the Philippines. With a little over a month left, Yuletide is fast approaching and the holiday shopping list needs to get moving.
As a Pinoy holiday tradition, the Christmas bazaar signals the start of bargain shopping to complete this list and many more. Until just before Christmas Day, several bazaars will open supporting various charities and programs.
The 15th Noel Bazaar is one successful Christmas market, so much so that it is now a series. After the successful commencement of its first leg in Alabang, the second just opened at the World Trade Center, Pasay City, this weekend and it runs until the end of November.
Mayose Gozon-Bautista, head of Noel Bazaar, annually asks my sister Sandy Romualdez and I to cut the ribbon together with GMA 7’s Mel Tiangco; one of the bazaar’s beneficiaries is the GMA Kapuso Foundation. Other beneficiaries are the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, the Gifts & Graces Foundation, the Associate Missionaries of Assumption, the Philippine Daily Inquirer Newsboys Foundation, the Noel P. Gozon Memorial Clinic and the Lingkod ng Potrero Foundation of the Sts. Peter & John Parish.
Every year, different Kapuso stars join us for the ribbon cutting. This year, Carla Abellana and Tom Rodriguez were the guests of honor as they shared their home items in the Celebrity Ukay-Ukay for charity.
Gifts & Graces Foundation also had a mini bazaar at my home as part of the L’Occitane pocket event to launch its new fragrance, L’Arlesienne. This French skincare and fragrance brand has deviated from its use of a single, highlighted ingredient into a synthesis of three floral notes: saffron flower, rose and violet.
Focusing on the concept of a radiant woman from the South of France, L’Occitane honors the Arlesienne in a new fragrance with a unique bouquet. This beautiful and mysterious woman has also inspired the painter Vincent Van Gogh, the poet Frederic Mistral and the fashion designer Christian Lacroix.
For the intimate launch, L’Occitane displayed the three floral notes in crystal vases that represented unexpected facets: temperament, grace and mystery. The subtle combination of saffron and mandarin top notes, the freshness of rose and lily of the valley in heart notes, and sensual sandalwood, violet and tonka bean for the base note makes this fragrance romantically sweet.
The bottle is engraved with flowers and the colorful case is inspired by the lively dance of the Arlesienne. Complementary products like body oil, beautifying powder, shower cream, hand cream and scented soap were available for ordering from Rustan’s Department Store.
At the lovely afternoon affair, L’Occitane also presented its core lineup of scents, like the popular lavender, verbena and green tea range. Beautifully arranged gift packages were highlighted for easy ordering for Christmas gifts.
Sevrine Miailhe, Rustan’s marketing and communications manager, was delighted to introduce the vibrant fragrance to the ladies who donated a table to the Red Charity Gala. They were also presented gifts from L’Occitane as tokens for their generosity.
Moving on to another French brand, Hermès recently hosted its Silk Ball at the Rigodon Ballroom in The Peninsula Manila. Hosts Shamcey Supsup and Brent Javier engaged the elegant audience to enjoy the whimsical festivities and wear mysterious masks.
Inspired by one of the French house’s most iconic creations, the carré, or silk scarf, the ballroom doors opened to a marvelous labyrinth of scarves. Mirrors beckoned Hermès Manila’s most valued clients to get lost in the magnificent maze.
Robert Dumas created the very first scarf in 1937. “From the beginning, the Hermès carré was imagined as an object, and not as an accessory,” recalls Pierre-Alexis Dumas, current creative director and grandson of the silk pioneer. “It is an object perfectly composed and autonomous. My grandfather was fascinated by the rigor imposed by printing on silk, and he immediately addressed the creation of his motifs through composition.
“He therefore accorded great importance to the design, refusing to accept approximation in the representations of animals, objects and details, and he ended up with a very expressive printed style, even when he was not the originator of the design.”
Since then, over 1,500 prints, patterns, scenes and styles have been lavishly brought to life. A select group of classic and contemporary artists have made the luxurious 90-cm Brazilian silk fabric the blank canvas for their pièce de résistance. Today, a Hermès scarf is sold every 25 seconds.
A glorious celebration of silk and masterful disguises, of finery, lavishness and enchanting costumes, Hermès created the Silk Ball to plunge guests into a world of fun and fantasy, music, light and color. Silk enfolds all, winds and slips, floats and flies, and amuses all comers.
Upon entry, guests were guided to the different activities, offering them tattoos, or masks—some of the evening’s playful accessories. On the dance floor, guests danced to the DJ’s rhythmic sound, witnessed mini-shows of choreographed dance, and took part in a dance class.
Surrounding the room were spaces dedicated to animations and vignettes. These spaces included a makeup parlor, a headdress fitting salon and a chameleon photo booth.
A fantastic, baroque-inspired, 70-feet-long buffet table was the breathtaking center of the Silk Ball. Festooned with silver candelabras and lush floral arrangements, the tone was set for the lavish feast prepared by chef Sam Linder.
Guests enjoyed the special cocktail menu along with flowing Piper-Heidsieck champagne all night long.
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