Luxury comes in many forms. In a world where money is no object, luxury is limitless. It can be tangible. It can be intangible.
First, the tangible. There is no shortage of high-end shopping in our city. One of my fave haunts are the well-appointed interiors of B&B Italia. With the opening of Abitare Internazionale, three new brands are there for shoppers—Maxalto, Flou and the German-made Walter Knoll Home.
At the launch, I chatted with Makati Mayor Junjun Binay and First Sister Kris Aquino, who were among the ribbon-cutters. It’s a luxury when you can have a playful friendship and set the media ablaze with speculation. That’s the intangible.
Providing Italian flair at the opening was Alfonso Tagliaferri of the Italian Embassy, along with former Italian national soccer player Stefano Pompeei with Allesandra Ruggeri and son Lorenzo. Adding foreign flavor to the event were B&B Italia and Maxalto’s Samanta Cunselmo, Flou’s Giusi Salvade, and Walter Knoll’s Giuseppe Peditto and Nils Crusius.
Nils explained the luxury behind fine leather to Spark Magazine editor Carla Sibal and me. It’s even more of a luxury to listen to an Italian accent while nibbling on the creations of Margarita Fores of Cibo di M, washed down with the finest Moet & Chandon champagne.
Contemporary design and pioneer architect Lor Calma and top interior designer and architect Johnny Ramirez were in discussion throughout the event. What luxurious design tips could they have been exchanging?
Rep. Freddie Tinga and his vibrant wife, Kaye, who is my co-chair for the upcoming Red Cross Charity Ball on Oct. 16, were also there. Kaye and I are already excited to see brilliant designer Michael Cinco’s luxurious gowns displayed at the Makati Shang.
Once again, Audi Philippines is one of the ball’s key sponsors. What luxurious sedan will be on display this year, I wonder? Audi big boss Robert Coyiuto has big plans this year, with the opening of his new Audi building across Serendra at The Fort. The slick glass structure is the perfect way to display the handsome luxury cars.
Abitare owners Filaine Tan, Jeanne Wee and Abitare VP lawyer Agerico Paras asked me to sign their copies of the Metro Society magazine with me on the cover. I’m told the issue sold out, which is a luxurious thing to hear.
The Abitare showroom is at the Crown Tower along HV de la Costa in Salcedo Village, Makati.
Finest quality ceramics
Of course, luxury does not need to be so expensive. There’s every bit of pleasure involved just walking along Rustan’s Department Store and looking at luxe stuff like handmade porcelain.
As part of the Italian Fest, Rustan’s partnered with Capodimonte, the purveyor of the finest quality Naples porcelain and ceramics. Third-generation owner Devis Rossi recently visited to hold a series of workshops showcasing the family’s pieces.
Some of Capodimonte’s most loved classic masterpieces are the intricate figurines bursting with life and popular grace, and the highly delicate floral designs. Known for its quality, uniqueness, extreme lightness, and distinct design, Capodimonte has truly made a mark in the world for Neapolitan’s ancient unique and impeccable master craftsmanship.
Devis demonstrated how to make delicate petals and leaves with just simple tools and his fingers. My youngest daughter, Athena, and her visiting friend Gabby Wong made butterflies instead.
The secrets of handcrafting and hand-painting the finest Italian ceramics by skillful florists have been passed from generation to generation. While Capodimonte has been an ancient practice, their very special, ultra-light style has been revived with technical innovations and continuous research for new shapes and decorations.
Several pieces are now available in all the Rustan’s Shops. Capodimonte also accepts special orders for gifts and giveaways. What a luxury to order in Rustan’s and have the artworks shipped in from Italy!
Today is also the last day of Rustan’s Super Sale Shopping, with as much as 70-percent discount throughout the department store. This is when a credit card can be a luxury, as I can use mine to stock up on children’s toys and home accessories.
National hero tributes
While shopping, I bumped into visual artist, newspaper columnist and business executive Marivic Rufino, who recently arrived from Spain. As part of the Philippine Embassy’s celebration of Mes Filipino in Madrid, she held her 16th solo exhibit of new mixed-media and watercolors at the Museo Nacional de Antropologia.
The exhibit “Romanza” was the opening act of Mes Filipino. The celebration also highlighted the 113th anniversary of Philippine independence and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Jose Rizal.
Our national hero is also honored this week, as the opening production of Tanghalang Pilipino’s season is based on his magnum opus, “Noli Me Tangere.” The musicale stars Cris Villongco, Mark Bautista and Gian Magdangal.
The luxury of timepieces
There is also luxury that money cannot buy, and that is time. That’s something we could all have more of, but if we lack it, we should just get the next best thing—timepieces! Top jeweler Anita Chan has entered the world of watches and launched her new line called Calli.
Together with exciting fashion designer Michelle Sison and champion talent manager Arnold Vegafria, Anita presented the Valii watches at the Rigodon Ballroom of the Manila Peninsula. After a mini-fashion show of the ladies’ and men’s watches, the buying hall was opened, offering special discounts and limited-edition pieces.
I was so excited that I got a yellow one with six interchangeable strap colors for my hubby, Dennis. It was a luxury piece that I could afford, and hopefully, he will reciprocate with a luxury piece he can afford, like a nice diamond ring!
The Valii timepieces and jewelry are available at the Anita Chan Jewelry Shop at the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell. I will invite my dear hubby to spend some luxury time with me there one of these days.