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Grateful for 2017, despite the challenges

By: - Columnist
/ 05:15 AM November 26, 2017

Anton San Diego, Maggie Sham-Averia, Miguel Pastor, Sea Princess, Thelma San Juan, Ben Chan, Millet Mananquil, Arnel Patawaran, Nenita Lim, Kai Lim, Bryan Lim, Virgilio Lim

There is so much to be grateful for this 2017, however exciting and challenging it may have been. So on Thanksgiving Day, our family celebrated with a special turkey dinner prepared by food entrepreneur Rina Go of Nic’s.

Rina’s menu included Chilean black mussels in white sauce, salmon crunch and seafood medley. Dessert was sinfully yummy, too. Inquirer Lifestyle’s “Best Desserts” lists Rina’s Peach Walnut Torte in its latest edition.


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This year, I am especially thankful for the many travels I enjoyed, visiting new destinations and gaining priceless, memorable experiences.

Denmark was my latest discovery when I was invited to visit the headquarters of two distinguished Danish brands, Fritz Hansen and Vero Moda. Both brands are represented in the country by Suyen Corp., headed by Ben Chan.

Coincidentally, my hubby Dennis was also in Europe at the time, so we met up for the weekend for a mini vacation beforehand.

Miguel Pastor, Cansu Kobal, Jigeesha Krefft, Maggie Sham, Sea Princess, Anton San Diego, Kai and Bryan Lim; on the second row are Thelma San Juan, Arnel Patawaran, Ben Chan, Millet Mananquil, Virgilio and Nenita Lim

Miguel Pastor, Ben Chan, Nenita and Virgilio Lim; on the second row are Millet Mananquil, Anton San Diego, Sea Princess, Maggie Sham-Averia, Arnel Patawaran

On the recommendation of my Norwegian running buddy Sille Førner, we booked a night in Häckeberga Slott, an old family castle in Sweden that was converted into a luxury hotel. In preparation for our 25th wedding anniversary in 2019, I brought costumes along and we both gamely posed for pictures all weekend.

The first part of the Copenhagen media trip was to discover the world-famous Fritz Hansen brand. This far-sighted family of Danish cabinetmakers has revolutionized the Scandinavian furniture industry by producing some of the world’s most revered design classics in the process.

Through creative partnerships with visionary designers and architects such as Arne Jacobsen, Hans J. Wegner and Poul Kjærholm, Fritz Hansen has developed a corporate culture characterized by the love of good craftsmanship, coupled with a desire to make the most of modern industrial production methods in the manufacturing and distribution of good design. Even today, 135 years after the company was founded, this approach is a major reason for the continued commercial success of Fritz Hansen in the 21st century.

At the Fritz Hansen HQ, we toured their impressive showroom that also has an extensive display of iconic furniture pieces throughout the years. Some of the icons include the Egg Chair by Arne Jacobsen, along with the Swan, Swan Sofa and the Drop. These pieces were all designed for the SAS Royal Hotel in the center of Copenhagen.


Fritz Hansen team Line Blomqvist, Janne Nyegaard, Ben Chan, Hans Mannerhagen

Genuine craftsmanship

Fritz Hansen’s master craftsman Hans Mannerhagen was in the showroom to showcase the genuine craftsmanship and premium quality of the Egg Chair. Early this year, Studio Dimensione brought Hans to the Philippines to demonstrate the actual hand-stitching done for the Egg Chair. According to him, two stitches will never be identical, but it follows the rhythm and cadence of the upholsterer. An Egg in fabric has more than 500 handmade stitches, and more than 1,100 stitches in leather. Truly, only an original can make an original.

Today, The Republic of Fritz Hansen is part of a small, exclusive array of luxury brands, and it fits in comfortably between other style icons such as Prada and Louis Vuitton. From The Museum of Modern Art and The Guggenheim Museum in New York to the Japanese embassy in Mongolia and the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi near the Arctic Circle, Fritz Hansen models stand as representatives of quality and world-class design.

Fritz Hansen currently employs a highly skilled staff of over 200 people at the company headquarters in Allerød, and the collection is distributed via exclusive showrooms in Tokyo, London, Stockholm, Oslo, New York, Amsterdam and Milan, as well as a global network of dedicated partners.

Visit, follow @fritzhansenstore_manila and @studiodimensioneph on Instagram. Studio Dimensione’s newly renovated showroom for Fritz Hansen is at G/F One Parkade, 28th St., Bonifacio Global City.


From furniture, we moved to the world of fashion, as we headed to the Vero Moda HQ in the city of Aarhus. At the awesome headquarters of the main company Best Sellers, we  got a good overview of Vero Moda’s working culture and essence. We got a better understanding of how this family-run business sets its goals in this competitive industry, and still remains  grounded.

As a brand, Vero Moda’s direction is to have a wide target market, in a sense that there is something for almost every type of woman. The brand has strayed from only focusing on one age group, which used to be the young, carefree, feminine girl. They have shifted to embrace even the edgy girl, the sporty girl and the sophisticated girl. There is just one word that summarizes the Vero Moda girl: confident.

At the meeting, our Philippine group met Malene Malling, Vero Moda’s new creative director. Her background was in print mags like Vogue, Elle and Nylon, but she is now committed to Vero Moda and has set out a new and exciting direction for the brand. Her new capsule collection called “MM/VM” will be hitting stores in the Philippines in the coming months.

Our market reception to the brand has been fairly increasing. Cebu is a strong market, thanks to foreigners who are familiar with the brand due to its presence in their respective mother countries.

Vero Moda in the Philippines is known to carry feminine and playful styles, both of which can be combined with more edgy and sophisticated pieces. Eight collections are due this year, four each for Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter.

Congratulations to master entrepreneur Ben Chan for bringing such great brands to our country. I’d write about his recent, fabulous Bench show, but I’m out of space, so I’ll reserve that for next week.

Vero Moda Philippines has six stores locally, in Greenbelt 5, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM Aura, Uptown Mall and Ayala Mall Cebu.

Follow @seaprincess888 on Instagram.

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TAGS: 2017, challenges, Lifestyle, Tessa
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