Collection Conundrum


I just don’t get it: Why aren’t most of our Spring/Summer collections in stores yet? None of the funky Henrik Vibskov stuff has arrived in Ambush (which would have made a perfect addition to my shopping feature); neither is the Maison Martin Margiela at Surrender.

Terry Ong
Issue Date: 
2011 Feb 24 - 23:00

I just don’t get it: Why aren’t most of our Spring/Summer collections in stores yet?


The buzz: Australian luxury accessories label Oroton opens its first standalone boutique here at the always reliable ION Orchard.

The vibe: Personalized and chic. The well-informed staff are ever ready to field any questions about the collection, all set within a well-lit space which oozes a suitably cozy and intimate mood.

The goods: Stellar and varied. Those looking for something more seasonal can go for the Spring/Summer 2011 pieces, based on Oroton’s rich history, which can be traced way back to 1938 Japan. Highlights include the luxurious silk on structured tote bags ($1,045) as well as soft lamb nappa pouches. But the centerpiece in the store is the limited edition Check Sparkle Jacquard Barrel Bag ($1,715), featuring intricate sequins, glazed leather trim and patent leather zip pull—available in both black and vanilla. Yummy.

Why you’ll be back: Because you can never over accessorize.

#03-01 ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, 6634-270. Open daily 10am-10pm.


Leave a Comment

Bold colors and irrepressible prints permeate these season's collections for men.

Whoever says that you can never keep a good man down is probably right. This Spring/Summer, some of the major labels like Comme des Garcons and Issey Miyake are taking major risks with their menswear lines, incorporating standout prints, designs and colors that have fashion observers pausing and taking a second look from their seats (us included). This is the world of high fashion after all, and kitsch is definitely the name of the game this season. We pick some of our favorites that are already available in stores so you know just where to get your snazzy sartorial fix.

Comme des Garcons
It may not be 2012 yet, but the legendary designer Rei Kawakubo already has her eye set on the apocalypse with her shocking new collection. Never mind that they’re not the most wearable—rampant skeletal motifs clashing with motorway checks isn’t something that you can actually dub “classic.” These highly seasonal and highly coveted gems, consisting mostly of black, white and grey short length pants, deconstructed shirts and blazers, will remain as collectibles for a long, long time. Buy these and save them for the next Halloween party in October—you can thank us later for making you the most stylish guy in the house.
$990 upwards at Comme des Garcons.

Issey Miyake
Variety is the keyword for designer Dan Fujiwara’s take on the season. His carefree and colorful collection consists of a few staple designs including blinding Tron-style prints in neon hues (mainly on its signature shirts), circular motifs on its denim overalls and jeans that channel the modern blues man, and standout neon-colored pocket details on shirts, parkas and hoodies, juxtaposed against vertical lines—a must for the playful and experimental.
$760 upwards at Issey Miyake.

The French music-design-fashion label has gotten stronger and stronger over the years, especially with its menswear line. This time round, designer Masaya Kuroki has opted for the globetrotter-style, where key classic pieces with careful, modern tailoring are infused with spirited colors of orange, red and blue to add to the tonality of their classic styles. Yet they are anything but boring, especially standout red parka and orange pants that will stop traffic at night, and sailor-inspired cotton jerseys and hats which are fresh, elegant and youthful all at once.
$330 upwards at Club 21b.

Liberty of London
Although light and effortless, the latest collection by Liberty London is a powerful ensemble. Fine double twisted cotton shirting fabrics ranging from stripes and eye-catching checks to jacquards and prints are the centerpieces, paired with some unpredictable china blue, tobacco and cognac hues on berms and parkas to create a pared down yet remarkable look.
$190 upwards at Club 21b.

Over the Stripes
If you can’t get enough of the streetwear look, Japan’s Over the Stripes delivers in spades with their decidedly young pieces. Designer Tamotsu Omine offers reworks of the classic Smiley Face motif and has it splashed on a range of T-shirts, coupled with 80s-inspired denim jeans with logo patchworks that will make you feel 18 all over again.
$190 upwards at Club 21b.

Club 21b #01-07 Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Rd., 6304-1459. | Comme des Garcons #02-39/40 Hilton Shopping Gallery, 581 Orchard Rd., 6304-1362. | Issey Miyake #02-09 Hilton Shopping Gallery, 581 Orchard Rd., 6304-1352.


Leave a Comment

The Kids Are All Right

Editor's Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Annette Bening
Julianne Moore
Mark Ruffalo
Mia Wasikowska
Josh Hutcherson
Directed By: 
Lisa Cholodenko

Breezy, thoughtful, engaging and often funny, indie film director Lisa Cholodenko (High Art, Laurel Canyon) has finally hit commercial strides with this acclaimed comedy up for the Oscar for Best Picture.

Opening Date: 
Wed, 2011-02-23
Terry Ong

Balestier, being the “underground” hood that it is, offers far out things for you to do. A 10-piece live band from India plays fun renditions of Tamil and Bollywood hits at Jeanz Live (#01-17 Balestier Complex, 262 Balestier Rd., 6256-6569). This is where you can let your guard down and dance with reckless abandon. Or pop by KTV lounge and hostess bar Beauty Jade Bar (571 Balestier Rd.) and pay $20 or so for a special lady to chat with you over a beer or two (you’re paying for her drink too, naturally). They have a special promo now where a bottle of Japanese wine goes for $90.

If you got lucky at the clubs and there’s actually someone that you might want to know better, you can check into one of the budget hotels along Balestier Road. One of the classier ones is Aqueen Hotel Balestier (387 Balestier Rd., 6593-0999). Rates start at $120 for a double bed, complimentary in-room broadband and wireless access and a 32-inch LCD TV with cable channels.

All that leftfield entertaining might take a toll on you. Thankfully, Balestier is home to some value-for-money massage places. At Happy Feet Foot Reflexology Centre (#01-945 Blk. 86 Whampoa Dr., 6254-4688), you can indulge in a 60-minute full body massage for just $42 or a 30-minute shoulder massage for $22. Alternatively, opt for a 15-minute therapeutic Natural Ginger Foot Spa for just $10. For a dose of holistic healing, try Bo Ai Therapeutic (#01-324 Blk. 74 Whampoa Dr., 6255-5686), which specializes in treating knee pain and injuries. They also offer acupuncture and acupressure services, and foot therapy and stiff neck or shoulder ache treatments.

Stop by Lam Yeo Coffee Powder Factory (328 Balestier Rd.) for a slice of old Balestier and buy yourself some specialty coffee straight from Bali for $21 per kg. If you’re more of a tea person, check out Gan Cheng Chuan Kim Kee Tea Merchant (Blk. 81 Whampoa Dr.) for traditional biscuits and tea. Or you might fancy picking up an aluminium tea pot at the unnamed shop house on 379 Balestier Road or a birdcage from Ann Soon Hong Bird Shop (315 Balestier Rd.).

BACK to Novena


Leave a Comment

Balestier Road is where you’ll find that perfect light fixture for your home, with more than 50 shops specializing in lights alone.

Most notable is Casa Nuovo (471/473 Balestier Rd., 6251-5570), the official lighting partner for Swarovski. Every single fixture is magnificently crafted using Swarovski crystals—from the groovy toilet signs ($400) to a minimal ceiling light ($150) to the centerpiece in the store—a chandelier to end all chandeliers ($15,500) made from literally hundreds of crystals.

Less decadent but equally cool is Eurostar Lighting & Furnishings (453/455 Balestier Rd., 6251-0018). We especially dig the thoroughly modern and minimalist Collective Luces wall lights which double up as a mirror ($400 upwards) by Spanish designer Maurizio Ferrari, and the very cool top hats hanging lights ($250 upwards).
For other decent selections, try (515 Balestier Rd., 6256-0080), Etoile Lumiere (329 Balestier Rd., 6253-0103) and The Light Shop (317 Balestier Rd., 6295-8431).

But what’s good lighting without good design? Hop on over to De Design (2 Whampoa Dr., 6254-9718) for some groovy home furnishing picks. Owner Henry Chan carries an assortment of items here: From metal chandelier lamps ($600) that will look great in the living room, to one-of-a-kind furniture, rugs, table lamps, cabinets and paintings sourced from Vietnam, Bangkok and Malaysia—every piece here is special and has its own story.

For more contemporary furnishing, try Living Vision (#01-20/21 Balestier Point, 279 Balestier Rd., 6256-7756). The Italian-inspired collection is clean and modern, although pieces are produced locally to ensure that prices remain competitive. A hip dining set sets you back $1,500, but check out the cool beehive lights ($690) and a thoroughly well-made wooden chair ($690).

Or try the ever reliable Scanteak (1 Pegu Rd., 6355-0208) for quality wood furnishing.

Just around the corner is Ted Collection (277 Balestier Rd., 6227-9577), specializing in haute couture gowns and dresses great for special balls and parties. Designers Don and Alvin can be seen at work handcrafting the clothes from scratch. Keep a look out for their gorgeous cheongsams ($800 upwards).

Funky streetwear can be found at Terpoa Department Trading (#01-839 Blk. 89 Whampoa Dr.). Most of the items are imported from China, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find hidden gems in the form of a pair of checkered mens shoes ($39.90) that could pass as Comme des Garcons and casual Converse-inspired slip-ons ($19.90). Also, you can bargain down the prices here.

Authentic vintage glasses can be had at Lim Kay Chee Optical (330 Balestier Rd., 6256-4635), carrying hundreds of pairs of chic eyewear from just $39.90. Those who have been paying a couple of hundred for these babies elsewhere will be glad to know that these are the real deal. Lim Kay Chee manages to keep the prices down because they’re also the wholesalers—this is probably the best kept shopping secret in the whole of Balestier.

NEXT: Other things to do in Balestier


Leave a Comment

Just a few minutes’ walk or three bus stops away from Novena is Balestier Road and its offshoots like Kim Keat Road and Whampoa Drive—a busy thoroughfare with a treasure trove of experiences. Sure, it may lack Novena’s order and convenience, but it’s precisely in that unpredictable chaos that you’ll find its charms. Many old shophouses can be found here, alongside a multitude of famous old makan places, countless lighting shops (certainly a fixture here), furniture specialists and vintage retail shops that you simply must check out.

Balestier is famous for its age-old street food—especially the bah kut teh and chicken rice stalls. For the former, noteworthy mentions include the slightly peppery version at Founder Bah Kut Teh (347 Balestier Rd.), or 333 Bah Kut Teh (333 Balestier Rd.) for its generous servings.

Chicken rice lovers can head for Loy Kee Chicken Rice (342 Balestier Rd., 6252-2318) or Boon Tong Kee (401 Balestier Rd., 6254-3937). Their signature juicy roast chicken is the star (any foodie can testify). But if you prefer duck, choose the succulent roasted ducks at Golden Duck Restaurant (369 Balestier Rd.)

For variety, head to the restored coffee shop Tuckshoppe (312 Balestier Rd.), which serves up classic hawker fare like curry rice and roasted pork rice. If you really want more and don’t mind getting down and dirty with the rest of the locals, move on to Whampoa Makan Place (Blk. 90/91 Whampoa Dr.), an expansive hawker center that serves up a wide and very affordable array of local cuisine. Must-tries here include the frog porridge at Tian Fu Live Frog and Porridge, the handmade Chinese cha siew buns at Yep Seng Handmade Pau Tim, and the Chinese pancakes at Granny’s Pancake.

If you’re coming late into the area, just head straight to the 24-hour food court Balestier Market (401 Balestier Rd.), where local favorites like rojak and satay are served till the wee hours of the morning.

NEXT: Shopping in Balestier


Leave a Comment

These two adjacent malls are the most well-known in the area. While Velocity is regarded as a sports hub of sorts, we like Novena Square for its unpredictable food and lifestyle choices.

The Art Republic
#03-35, 6356-8289.
For those looking for one-of-a-kind gifts, check out this store which specializes in unique scrapbooks and handicrafts handmade by a small team of designers. They also offer special craft paper exclusive to their store.

#03-07, 6356-7390.
Hunting for that past season Prada, Gucci or Chloe bag? You’re most likely to find it here. Some of the highlights include a Chloe Marcie Hobo calf leather handbag and a large YSL Roady bag which comes with metallic rivets and gorgeous studs.

Harry’s Bar
#01-59/60, 6478-3010.
Come here for post-dinner drinks like the potent house cocktails Sunset Paradise and Peach Schnapps (both $9). Fine, the staple beer by the tap will work too.

Lao Beijing
#02-11, 6358-4466.
The mostly-wood décor sets the mood for an intimate dinner: Their xiao long bao and Peking duck are highlights, while dim sums such as siew mai and har gao are great as afternoon tea snacks.

Puma Lifestyle Store
#02-56/59, 6258-7600.
Fans of the classic Puma brand will be glad to know that this factory outlet store offers a wide range of past season fashion apparel—mostly at half price.

Salad Stop!
#02-24, 6820-0158.
One of our favorite salads and wraps joints offers tasty, healthy food from just $9. Make your own salad or wrap (choose from four types including wholegrain or spinach flavored) by choosing from almost 50 (you heard us right) ingredients—including avocado, beetroot, brown rice, broccoli and chickpeas—and munch away!

NEXT: Dining in Balestier


Leave a Comment