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Saigon Block Party – Hip Youth Video

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Trendwatchers from the world have their eyes laid on Tokyo, Berlin, Brooklyn, NoMa (Paris), but emerging scenes of youth culture like Vietnam are now über-exciting, shall we say.

Just watch this video made in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to take a peek into a generation craving for ideas, aesthetics, style and contemporary values. In their own way, somehow.

B-R-A-V-O to Bluer Production.
Behold The Day Dreamers.
 

The Day Dreamers from BLUER VIETNAM on Vimeo.

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San Art Gallery – Saigon Contemporary Art

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Sàn in vietnamese means ground. Sàn Art Gallery is a unique space in Ho Chi Minh City that has provided a platform for art and creation for 6 years. Yesterday was the opening for a group exhibition called Mind, Flesh, Matter.

We have been impressed by the rich atmosphere offered by the space – formerly a reading space / library, but also with the diversity of works and the precision of curation by director of gallery Zoe Butt.

Mind, Flesh, Matter is the work of 3 vietnamese artists: Lai Dieu Ha, Le Phi Long and Nguyen Van Du and was part of a process called Sàn Art Laboratory. The residency program allowed the artists to exchange and find talking partners to further their research, resulting in quite an achieving set up.

Materials and ideas seemed to collide in a very subtle way. Installations were meant to provide depth to paintings and drawings, echoing how Mind, Flesh and Matter coincide. In a reserved way, we could think performance art would have in some way contributed to deepen the experience.

In our very specific way, we have ended up stumbling into hints of pop culture here and there, most probably unintentional or better totally unrelated.

Organic side cuts reminded us of recent imagery from Hannibal (TV version with Mads Mikkelsen), when the man in the wood somehow reproduced the post-apocalyptic post-human postulate of Danny Boyle heroes Di Caprio in The Beach or Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later. There was also this distant memory of Six Feet Under’s legendary tree…

Art and design are making their way into the hectic life of the fast-growing metropolis. We Boulevardiers could not love it more.

 

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2 days in Ho Chi Minh City

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Vietnam is scoring higher and higher points in coolness these days while things heat up at its borders. While China and Vietnam go head to head on territorial claims in the South China Sea, the country took the scene in 2 world-leading media to show its fascinating new lifestyles.

First on May 7 – Louis Vuitton released its refined Travel Book – Vietnam, subtly edited and drawn by Lorenzo Mattotti. The introduction video makes the exploit of showing all the famous traits of Vietnam without an ounce of cliché-ness. Residing in the country for a little less than a year now, I can certainly appreciate even more that a fresh eye such as Mr Mattotti’s has brushed up the overloaded motorbikes, the tacky alleys, the incredible sights of Ha Long Bay in a poetic way. As he says, all these symbols can be looked at in a quite abstract way. Shapes are key to his vision.

See the video:

 

 

Then on May 8 – the New York Times took its famous 36 Hours In… series to Ho Chi Minh City. The well-documented article does walk through the hottest places of modern Saigon. I’d certainly +1 on designer Linda Mai Phung’s works (see our french column last summer in L’Express Styles), vouch for the artistic new wave led by Gallery Quynh, San Art and L’Observatory, and yum in on Cuc Gach Quan’s foodie delight.

But I could not help bring up the happy few spots and people overlooked by the article. So here’s an additional 48h you can add to your stay in Ho Chi Minh City with its extra recommendable experiences. Welcome to the exciting contemporary Saigon: authentic and futuristic, mostly at the same time.

The Street Treat – Unconspicuous Pho joints where you get to taste the unavoidable national dish include Pho Thai Son on Le Lai street, a short park-walk away from the backpacker area. Next comes Tan Dinh Market, a place to find an immense choice of weird to cool fabrics – the street food court there is highly cool too. By night time, join in a street quan nhau (literally binge eat-drinking joint) on Ham Nghi street to enjoy watered-down beers and grilled seafood.

The Liquor Tour – Saigon offers a still confidential taste of quality drinks. The best Negroni can be found at the Purple Jade, while great wines are curated by a team of passionates at Wine Embassy. Last but not least, drinks are usually more enjoyable with a cool musical scene. Venues such as Cargo Bar (Q4) – a huge warehouse turned into concert spot hosting international gigs of rock and electronic music (Onra, Poni Hoax among others in 2013) – or the hip and kinky Broma, and the experimental street-culture spot called Saigon Outcast (where contributors organized a Flaming Lips experience gig last winter) are all worth the visit.

The Shopping Spree – As we all love to explore local options, the fascinating thing about Saigon is how it opened to the most avantgarde cultural scenes lately and allowed subsequent shopping options. The most curious of them all would be Runway Concept Store, located in an otherwise uncharming Vincom mall. International contemporary designers like Helmut Lang, Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang or Acne Studios have found their place there for a cultured generation of vietnamese and expats, among luxury brands including Saint Laurent Paris, Givenchy or Maison Martin Margiela. VIPs looking for a more glamorous outfit could also turn to a more fancy cocktail dress at Luala, another local concept store offering Victoria Beckham, Azzedine Alaia and Elie Saab.

 

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Me & You, a private experience with Jehangir Mehta: the intersection of art and dining

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Restaurants and eating moments are experiencing a loud revolution. It seems like people want to go back to basics and understand WHY this fundamental human activity should be sacred, shared, preserved in an always faster world. Me and You, a private experience by Jehangir Mehta, is one of the last initiatives coming from NYC. An exciting project, a sort of creative hub between senses, sharing, discovery and exclusivity. We had a chance to interview Kate Gunning, one of the initiators of the  project. When  yummy meets exclusivity… MeAndYou_LogoTagline

 

You’ve decided to launch a very interesting restaurant…can you tell us more about that?

YES! Chef Mehta has dreamed of having a private kitchen so personal and intimate he can tailor menus to each who dine. Me and You is that dream coming to life. When you dine at Me and You, you dine in Chef Mehta’s private kitchen, and the whole evening is really about the experience as well as the food. Chef will present each course, telling stories about the ingredients, and on occasion, their connection to a memory from his childhood in India.
Chef’s kitchen is in a secret location in the East Village, because we want it to be special, and only seen by those who dine with him, almost like you’re entering the kitchen in his home. The space is really intimate, with 1 big communal table, and an open kitchen so you can really be with the Chef for the whole evening. The vibe is quite warm, dimly lit candle light, exposed brick, records playing, with the scent of fresh flowers from the season and the amazing flavors cooking up in the kitchen. It’s all about shared experiences in Chef’s kitchen, as he believes eating is for sharing and creating memories.
We have a few options for dining in Chef’s kitchen. First, you can book the space for a private experience for up to 14 people. When you do, you’ll be sent a survey to fill in for your group, with about 10 questions regarding your preferences for flavors, texture, wine, etc. Chef uses the survey responses to create a tailored menu just for your event.
Second, Chef will open his kitchen for dinners in which he creates the menu, and opens the table up to the first 14 guests who make a booking. For this menu, he’ll feature flavors of the season, the latest wines on his preferred list. It’s a nice chance for Chef to get creative, and open his kitchen to anyone who wants to join.
Finally, Chef is passionate about the intersection of art and dining and will host collaboration dinners every month featuring other chefs, artists, writers, designers, the like. This will be a fun forum for Chef to collaborate with another like minded talent, as well as to offer an opportunity for our guests to dine with the chef and artist of the night – to get to know them, view their art, or discuss their book, whatever it may be.
On this note, at launch we are featuring art from one of Warhol’s Academy of Art students, Gaetanne Lavoie. She’s amazingly talented, and we are glad to be able to feature her art on our walls, and share her story with our guests.
A lot of city boys and girls are looking for alternative experiences: do you see any difference between London & NYC?
It’s funny you mention, as one of the inspirations for this concept is actually the supper clubs that are so prevalent in Paris right now. We love the principle of the supper clubs in Paris that invite you into apartments for great food, an intimate vibe, new people and conversation, and that is much of what we want to create for Chef’s dinners which he opens to the public for booking.
The private dinner experiences we had in London were amazing, as well, the thing is, they were pop ups. What we love about this is that it’s an opportunity to really create a staple in the East Village for the long term, and to allow people to hopefully really connect with the Chef and the space.
How did you meet your chef?
We’ve known Chef for over 4 years. My husband Tim and I met him through a mutual friend in NYC before our move to London. We went to his other restaurant, Graffiti, and literally ordered one of everything on the menu. We were so impressed by the creativity of his food, and then, with his authenticity and passion for sharing his food and his culture and getting to know his guests. We visited Graffiti frequently before we moved to London, and while living in London, and kept in touch that way. A few months ago we joined Chef as guests at an underground dinner club, and then over wine one Sunday following discussed the idea. The rest is history!
What would be the perfect memory you want to create among your new customers?
An experience that taps into all your senses, that’s unique to anything else because it’s not just about the food, its about who you’re with, the space, the Chef, his stories, the music, the thought behind each carefully crafted course, because the menu has been created just for the night. An experience that lasts for hours, sometimes includes entertainment, and maybe even includes Chef baking scones for your breakfast the next day…. passing them to you on your way out into the night……
Where can we follow the project?
Jehangir  on Facebook
Website coming soon! (middle of December) www.dineatmeandyou.com
Kate Gunning will also be blogging: kategunning.tumblr.com or instagramming @kategunning or tweeting @kategunning
Book a table now at: concierge@dineatmeandyou.com

Credit photography: Rodney Bedsole

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The Regent Street Cocktail Safari: April 2013 is going to be yummie

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Remember the brilliant acrobats dancing in the sky during Regent Street Festival few months ago? Well, the fashion gang is back with the Regent Street Cocktail Safari which will be launching in April 2013 at restaurants, cafés, bars and hotels along Regent Street.

And for two boulevardiers like us, well, it’s a bespoke event right?

Shoppers will be able to enjoy multiple venues in one evening, tasting the signature cocktails and small plates each venue has developed. The Regent Street Cocktail Safari has been created as an extension of the internationally renowned Regent Street Food Safari.”

The spots sound pretty amazing: MASH, Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel (love it, I can testify…), aqua, Gaucho (perfect for a date..), The Living Room W1, Sartoria, Courthouse Doubletree by Hilton, Le Meridien Piccadilly,Dirty Martini and Inamo (<3).

Here’s the recommendation of the team behind the Cocktail journey:

Start at MASH on Brewer Street to try their movie themed cocktails, the American Psycho and the American Beauty. Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel will be serving Salt Beef Bagels, Hot Dogs and Slider Sandwiches alongside their signature Chrysler Cocktail, with a Cognac base. Go to aqua for their Iron Lotus and Guatemalan Spirit cocktails to complement their Spanish tapas.

a beautiful mojito @ Courthouse Doubletree
a beautiful mojito @ Courthouse Double Tree

Gaucho have created their own Regent Street Cocktail including Smirnoff black with Aperol and a saffron infusion. The Living Room, W1 are launching their brand new Bar Sliders menu, a new concept, with their Regent Street punch. Sartoria have designed 3 cocktails to embrace the West End spirit including a RegentStreet special, made with lychee juice, whereas Courthouse Double Tree by Hilton have created the Regent Street Cosmojito.

At Le Méridien Piccadilly you can try the mini tasting menu with three mini food plates and three tastingcocktails. If you’re a sushi fan then Inamo is offering a sushi selection with their signature spicy cocktail the Inamo, with chilli syrup. If you’re looking for a martini, head to the experts at Dirty Martini to try their Tropical Pear Martini, Mango & Chilli Martini, or signature Dirty Martini.

 

It sounds like fun hey?

You can get more information right here:

regentstreetonline.com
twitter.com/regentstonline
facebook.com/RegentStreetOfficial
youtube.com/regentstreettv

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My recent addiction to REISS 1971

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We are bad, bad, BAD!!! We fashion bloggers sometimes spend so much time online, trying to discover new emerging brands, tricky ideas, inspiring styles, that we just completely forget high street. Yeah, we get low on high street major players (I don’t even know if it’s English, thus). So this Saturday, I did something crazy: I went to Reiss, just in front of Covent Garden station. Yeah, you read it well: Reiss.

Maybe for you English-speaking fellows, it might sound not that surprising; but for a male + French + East Londoner, Reiss was associated to a certain idea of older preppy families; to people sailing on a yacht in French Riviera; to men who don’t want to get dirty in shabby-chic night-life, who aren’t into arts and pervasive meetings.

I was wrong, oh so wrong fashionistas. Don’t blame me; I’ve just confessed. I’ve discovered, 3 years after everybody, their younger and edgier sub-brand, called “1971”.

 

The collection is utterly premium; a mix of retro-attitude which fully mash-ups with current trends, promoted by Open Ceremony for instance. I have a crush on this jacket for instance, which could perfectly suit to Ryan Gosling in Drive 2:

For girls, the collection is even more subtle; a sort of Kling but more premium:

Reiss 1971, for wanderer with a twist of chic.

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Korin Avraham from Ya Salam, fashion blogger in Tel Aviv

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Fashion is like a great journey; from a place to another, people have different faces, moods, attitudes and dreams. We had a chance to discover Korin Avraham, who is the proud owner of Ya Salam fashion blog. Based in Tel Aviv, Korin shares with us her own fashion genesis. A family story, but also a deep attachment to Italian know-how.

Your blog is called “Ya Salam“: why this reference to an Arab word to say hello?

When I opened my blog I was thinking how should I call it?
I knew I want the name to reflect me… and a second later I experienced a colorful flashback of me as a four years old girl standing in my bedroom the night of my kindergarten graduation party. I was telling my mom that I’m not going to wear the dress and the Sandals she gave me and if she wanted me to go to the party she better get me the linen overall and my burgundy polish shoes because that was the outfit I felt like wearing!!! She tried telling me she doesn’t know where she put the overall and asked me to wear the other outfit and go to the party on time without making my entire family wait for me. I apologized and just said that the faster she will get me my outfit the faster we will all go. She left the room and came back with my outfit and after I put it on she said “ok Korin, now can we go?” I looked at all of my family members and saw that all of them were upset. I thought to my self: There is no way we are leaving to a party with this attitude. So I did my pose and said “now everybody say: YA SALAM!!

I will just explain that Ya Salam means “WOW” in Arabic and its a term that my dear amazing dad would say whenever I would wear something nice or say something smart.
So that’s it- they were all laughing, said YA SALAM and we all had a great night.
So that’s what I want my blog to be about: A good attitude is the first thing you have to wear no matter where you go, who you go with and what you wear!!!!

korin ya salam

What are your biggest achievements so far as a fashion blogger & stylist?

My biggest achievement was the production I made for Moschino when his team arrived to Tel Aviv as the Tel Aviv fashion week – guest of owner.

As a result I have been interviewed to an Italian online magazine and have been invited to the fashion show that will take place at the Milan fashion week.

I also have been given a regular slot on ‘The Lounge’ show on IDC Radio – an international Radio.

© Kara Bieber, Make up by Sara Rutstein, Styling by Ya Salam
© Kara Bieber, Make up by Sara Rutstein, Styling by Ya Salam

 

Tel Aviv is a very sought place these days: would you define an Israelian fashion identity?

The fashion scene in Israel is, like the country, very young and is still at a curious stage without a clear identity.

The main fashion scene in Israel is based in Tel Aviv as most designers are located here, and there are lots of vintage stores here as well.

The style is eclectic and has an oriental flavor along with modern and western motifs, as you will find an urban colorful designs next to vintage influence and interesting and fun accessories world.

If we want to better know the fashion scene in Israel, where shall we go and which sites shall we visit?

Sheinkin st, Flee market on Jaffa, art and crafts market on Nachlat Binyamin st., the vintage market on Dizingoff square, Dizingoff st., Neve Tzedek, Mitcham Hatachana.

What can we wish you?

To keep love for what I’m doing and to keep doing what I love!

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The Broken Arm : new top parisian concept store

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We’ve been following these people for a while… From the beginning, actually. When De Jeunes Gens Modernes launched in 2009, we believed this collective of sharp, curious and intelligent fashion and culture minds would go very far. While American geniuses Humberto Leon & Carol Lim – founders of cult store and label Opening Ceremony – moved a few months ago to Paris to coolify crumbling legend Kenzo, these discreet professionals made their way into the address book of the best talents around the world. Focusing attention on a carefully curated feed of news dedicated to exclusive and über-cool labels and artists on their blog, De Jeunes Gens Modernes would definitely become an indispensable hub of contemporary fashion.

Emerging brands were always what made the edge of still running DJGM. But today, part of the team has taken it to another level. With lots of love as proven on their Facebook wall from belgian pionneers Hunting & Collecting, Guillaume, Romain & Anaïs have launched The Broken Arm: a delicate contemporary fashion retailer dedicated to exciting labels and a sleek and sophisticated understated metropolitan (yup altogether) lifestyle. The Broken Arm is seated in the hot neighbourhood of NoMa (North Marais), where creative labs such as art library slash gallery Ofr or showroom slash gallery Ra also have their address.

Adepts of 3.1 Philip Lim, Carven, Cédric Charlier, Jacquemus, Kenzo (what were we saying about the young guns?), Patrik Ervell, Raf Simons… will find a whole new offer there. It was expected that an exploratory modern retailer would settle in Paris, but how better could it be than curated by this experimented team of passionate scouts and analysts?

Here are some premiere pics of the incredible space opened at 12 rue Perrée, Paris III.

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Surface to Air – New Paris Grenelle store

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Cult parisian contemporary design studio Surface to Air just opened a new retail space in Paris, crossing boldly an unforgiving river Seine. Rive Gauche is home to the famous Saint-Germain neighbourhood where style and wit has always flourished however flooded by tourists the Boulevard gets. It has a more private spirit, spaces are confidential, streets are quieter than on the busy Rive Droite. Elegance in all its essence, and settling there is just another strong statement by the label.

Surface to Air - Paris Grenelle
Surface to Air – Paris Grenelle
Inside S2A Paris Grenelle (opened January 13)
Inside S2A Paris Grenelle (opened January 13)

 

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Andes Premium Catch: a fish shop as a mashup between sustainability and lifestyle

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What if fish shops were the new fashion hot spots? What if you could reinvent a classic highstreet seafood boutique in a very collective knowledge? That’s the bet of Andes Premium Catch in Shanghai. And it rocks.

Hi Jiayi; so you’ve launched with your family in Shanghai a fish shop which is also a space for creativity: can you tell us more about this crazy project?

Our fish shop Andes Premium Catch is all about living the good life! We carry only the best wild ocean fish that is 100% traceable and additive free. However, while a lot of people would love to enjoy this seafood at home, often they don’t know exactly what to do with it. So we have an open kitchen and a resident chef to introduce new ways of enjoying food to our customers. As an educational space for wild and additive free seafood, we will cooperate with leaders in food safety and nutrition to bring the message of healthy and responsible living to China.

There’s more and more this kind of collaborative space: how do you see this fish for thought store in few years?

The Chinese consumer is becoming more and more savvy and discerning. I see the store staying as our flagship, becoming an increasingly trusted source for responsible seafood and a symbol of living well. We will open more and more stores around Shanghai, then the rest of China!

Does it smell? xoxo

Smells good to me ;)

Where can we follow the global project? (links etc.)
www.andespremiumcatch.com (will be ready soon, it links u to our blog)

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