Today I met Ditta in her boutique to finalize her collection for the fall opening. We decided on a lovely mix of leather and abel fabric the traditional woven fabric of Vigan and the Ilocos region made from yarns of cotton or sagut that are sourced from northern Luzon. Dita has combined the abel fabric with a buttery soft leather for a unique and distinctive look. To compliment the abel fabric Ditta uses her signature Pina fabric with leather accents. Horn rings and necklaces complete the collection…stunning!!
I am up early and off to the Legazpi Market, also know as the “organic market”. Despite a heavy emphasis on food and grocery items one can find some interesting craft including home accents, fashion, accessories and novelties. Two of my favorite things included thes
e fun floor mats and the beautiful shell tassels.. I’ve talked to the suppliers, checked out the prices and found that both suppliers will be participating in the American Women’s Bazaar on Tuesday. This Bazaar is held once a month and will feature a wider array of craftsman and artisans, so I think we’re going to hold off making our purchases til then.
Did you know that Town & Country declared Wynn Wynn Ong a style maker? That didn’t surprise us at all as Wynn is one of our most admired AsiaStore designers. We are proud to showcase her collection at AsiaStore and had the privilege of visiting her Manila based studio to see her latest creations, inspired by the Philippine Gold exhibition. The theme is built around black and gold and features handwoven silver and copper scarves plated in gold, exquisite hand sculpted clutches and a breathtaking collection of necklaces, earrings and cuffs all produced using the lost wax technique. Once again, we are awed by Wynn’s talent.
My first stop today is at Jewelmer to meet with Franck, Tricie and Jacques Branallec to discuss the miracle that is the Golden Pearl. Jacques’s father I learn, was a pioneer, in successfully cultivated pearls with a rich, natural golden color. Through decades of research and biotechnology, Jewelmer has perfected the breeding process that produces gold-lipped Pinctada maxima pearl oysters capable of growing large, lustrous, golden pearls, now regarding as a national treasure of the Philippines.
As I gaze through the cases o0hing and ahhing over the beautiful necklaces, earrings and bracelets, I’m shown a priceless treasure…a matched strand of 16-18mm golden pearls. Jewelmer produces close to 1/2 million pearls a year and it took 30 years to match this strand. Simply magnificent! And as a special treat, I’m told that if one purchases a Jewelmer design for $200k or more, they are treated to a complimentary trip to the breathtaking Jewelmer Pearl Farms in Pawalan! So if a trip to the Philippine Islands is on your wish list, stop by AsiaStore this Sept for your first look at Jewelmer Golden Pearl collection!
My final stop is at the Jim Thompson flagship store on Surawong Road, where I am greeted by Sumalee and taken on a tour of the latest thai silk collections…so many new things since my last visit! I am overwhelmed by the beautiful textiles and eagerly browse through the departments selecting new offerings for spring. Some of my favorites include bowties, cufflinks, silk boxers, t-shirts, silk robes, hand woven shawls and dazzling new thai silk accessories.For the past 12 years, AsiaStore has been proud to be the exclusive source of Jim Thompson products in the US and we are thrilled to introduce an exciting new collection of products this spring!!
I was browsing through the Riverside Shops and in among the antique stores and souvenir shops I came across this wonderful Thai concept store called Sweet Drug. I’m told designer Dee, hand paints his signature edgy images which are then translated into prints for apparel, t-shirts, accessories and home products. LOVE IT !! I especially liked the t-shirts and the canvas totes. I’m bringing back a sampling to try…you’ll have to let me know what you think!
Follow AsiaStore’s Chief Merchandising Officer Anne Godshall as she scouts out the latest designs in Asia.
I am up early and off to the weekend market!! Chatuchak Market, also known as JJ Market is a must-see for shoppers…it’s sheer size and diverse product offerings will bring even the most seasoned shopper to their knees! The market stretches over 35 acres, featuring more than 8000 stalls of antiques, decorative accessories, jewelry, accessories, textiles, clothes, novelties, food and more! I have to say it’s a bit intimidating but with Ellen as my guide I’m confident we will uncover some wonderful treasures. First find are these lovely embroidered pillow covers with coordinating votives and incense sets…love them! From there it’s off to explore textiles where I find some lovely woven thai silk scarves. I am shocked to see that the pricing on thai silk has tripled since my last visit- still we have to have them…they’re gorgeous! Next stop jewelry…I absolutely love these delicate brass earrings…so many patterns, I can’t choose…I think we need an assortment of all of them! And now just as I think I might not be able to carry much more, I see these beautiful lotus candle holders. I’m going to have to come up with an extra hand to carry everything, but I’m not leaving without them!
Lacquer Master Veronica Gritsenko has spent the past 8 months preparing an exclusive collection of lacquerware for AsiaStore, reinterpreting the ancient art of handmade lacquer using traditional crafting techniques combined with progressive design. Today she takes us through the process, which begins with creating a base from either bamboo, teak wood, or horsehair. The base is shaved smooth and a layer of 2nd quality lacquer applied to reinforce the surface. The piece is again shaved smooth and raw lacquer applied. Bone ash and Thao (lacquer juice) adhere cloth to the surface to reinforce the base, followed by another layer of thao. 2-3 layers of 1rst quality lacquer are then applied and the piece is polished by hand. Now time for the decoration to be applied. U Sein Win etches Veronica’s intricate design into the lacquer and then the color is applied. Veronica uses up to 5 colors including red cinnabar and fully decorates her pieces on both the face and back . Color is applied one color at a time and must dry for several days after each application, before the washing of the color takes place
(Veronica’s favorite part!). We look on as one of the artisans carefully sponges away the excess color. The finished piece is then polished with powder from fossilized wood. The result while stunningly beautiful is also extremely durable and is resistant to heat, moisture and cracking.
I arrive at Veronica’s new workshop…we head upstairs where the lacquerware collection she has been working on for several months, is casually displayed on the thatched floor. Exquisite burlwood bowls, trays, cups, gourd vases, each intricately etched and decorated on face and back….I am overwhelmed by her artistry.