Wednesday, January 25, 2012

KARL by Karl Lagerfeld Released

The long awaited KARL is (being) released at this very moment, with a premiere on net-a-porter. After having had a collaboration with the Swedish Brand H&M, Karl Lagerfeld now offers his own name as a fashion collection which should be more affordable to the masses (prices ranging from 24 to around 1000 Euro).

The collection will be available for four weeks and has 70 pieces, including dresses, pants, shoes, bags and T-Shirts.

I find it very KARL, very sleek, straight lines, well-defined shape, KARL colours (or non-colours), Karl accessories, leather, studs... a piece of the designer's image - and it's all affordable. So go ahead and check it out on and let me know about your favourite piece.

(Pictures sources: Pics 1-5 via and Pics 6-9 via

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Russian Lunch

I have recently acquired a book by the author Wladimir Kaminer. For those who haven't heard of him, he's a writer in Berlin, with Russian origins (he received his citizenship for some years now in Germany), and he has a funny-sarcastic-ironic but very clever way of telling short stories, many related to the life in the East and contrasts to the Western life...differences between communism, socialism and capitalism etc.

One particular chapter in his book I found appropriate to connect to a really nice lunch I have had with friends and my mother recently. It is the chapter where Kaminer discusses about the thornfish. His neighbour Andrej drags him to the opening of a new Russian food store in Friedrichshain and there the shadows of the past embrace the author while his neighbor buys the thornfish. The thornfish used to be one of the basic and most common fish in the socialistic Russia. You would eat it yourself but also feed the cat. But besides the function of nurture, the thornfish gave a feeling of freedom and of unity with the rest of the world, because it was fished from seas next to Australia.

Yes, indeed, food has more functions. It makes people creative at times (using the same basic ingredient, you have to think of how to transform it each time so that you don't have the same result), it makes them remember the past (taste has a wonderful way of telling stories you thought long forgotten) and it makes people come together.

My mother tells stories about the Russian hospitality and how, if you were a guest in someone's home, you would never have to feel that there was not enough food. People would go borrow from their neighbors what they were missing, only to make the guest feel special and "at home" in their home. It's like making you feel warm around your soul too and not only around your stomach.

If we look at traditional Russian food, its main purpose is to provide a lot of energy and warmth. The weather we now have outside has been blamed on Siberian "winds", so imagine how it has to be there and what you must eat in order to stay fit. Soups are very common, followed by dishes based on meat or cabbage, just like these Pelmeni below (some would say they are similar to tortellinis), which usually contain a mixture of two meat types.

Here you can see the Piragi, a type of buns filled either with a mixture of minced meat with onions or with a mixture of cabbage and eggs. I prefer the second ones. All of these dishes are accompanied by good, fatty, sour cream (smetana), because energy is also built on fat.

My mother picked the dish mix above, a varienty of salads of which many contained cabbage, beans and beetroot (which is a rich source of antioxidants and nutrients and very important for cardiovascular health).

Pickled vegetables and fruit are also a fine way the Russians complete a dish, and I has small wild pickled apples to accompany my venison steak and my elk roast. Below you see a venison roast our friend got. It was so yummy he finished first.

To complete a real meal, one must enjoy a really nice black tea (черный чай) which is served usually in fine glasses in a finely decorated glass-holder.

In the recipient above, the sugar was "served". I loved the presentation in that restaurant and using trays and bowls and dishes with traditional pattern also gave a feeling of belonging, because you could eat like people would have for ages and would be considered part of the "family".

To end the lunch in the most traditional way, the tea is made with the samovar (самовар) and next to it you get some small sweet pretzels (бублики) or some chocolates which contain wafer (generally called конфекты).

But whatever you eat and wherever you are and no matter what nationality you are, it is important to remember that food can unite people for life and that the joy of sharing something with the person you love, be it family or friend, can never be taken away from you. Nor can your memories be stolen...I can still see the way my mother was traveling in time with every bite she took from that lunch.

Chinese New Year - China's Top Luxury Gifts

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We all know that the Chinese New Year is one of the biggest migrations there is, but it is also a time when commerce flourishes for some, because gifting is very important in the Chinese culture. The colour red has to be somehow included in the gift, and this year very valued are the Dragons, but what are the top brands to give gifts from for the Chinese?

According to the Hurun Report, these are the brands that get the most bought from the luxury industry:
1. Louis Vuitton 14,9%
2. Cartier 10,3%
3. Hermes 8%
4. Chanel 6,2%
5. Moutai 5,9%
6. Apple 5,7%
7. Dior 4,6%
8. Prada 3,9%
9. Rolex 3,6%
10. Armani 3,4%

Sunday, January 15, 2012

World's Most Expensive Business Cards

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Have you ever wondered how much first impressions count in creating business contacts and hence business opportunity? Have you ever put thought into how you do a handshake, how your table manners are, how you dress to impress (and to fit the occasion) or how your face loos like and what a smile can do for you? I am sure you did, because, even if you are not a freelance and even if you don't work for a brand, first of all, you should be your own brand and building "YOU" takes time and effort.

So let's say you have given all the above a thought - and you meet someone really influential or someone you want to do business with...or just someone who you admire a lot and you want to stay in touch with - and you want to introduce yourself - and then you pull out this business card from Black Astrum: a bespoke diamond-encrusted statement business card - which come in sets of 25, 50 and 100 cards, a full set containing around 30 carats of diamonds.

Now this is a card that can say something about you without any words: it is a signature card targeting the ultra high net worth individuals of the world, which you get access to by invitation only (so privileged high net worth people), with an average price of around 1000 pound sterling per card - which the individual just gives to introduce himself - so he puts more accent on other values than money (money is easily spent) but still wants to make a statement. It also tells about the importance the person receiving it has to the owner of the cards.

And it has just been launched in London. So when will you receive it from someone? Or when will you use it to make a statement?

(Picture source:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Emporio Armani Campaign Spring-Summer 2012

Dear all,
today I present you the Emporio Armani Campaign for the Spring-Summer 2012 season.
Out of all the bands of the Armani Group, Emporio Armani seems to be the best sold one. It is nr 3 most expensive one in the group and it targets young adults with its fresh and sleek design.

For this campaign the pictures were shot in Hong Kong, with Armani himself as the creative director. Alasdair McLellan, a London-based photographer and one of the leading fashion photographers of his generation, took the shots. Alasdair believes that photography should be personal and I believe these pictures reflect just that - they are not just product presentations, no, I believe that Alasdair has captured the models' expressions so well and Armani has made them integral part of the surrounding while still standing out with their personality.

From the Emporio Armani page we read that the photographer has "captured the elegance and the romance of the city, as well as its urban sophistication and the unique cultural mix of Eastern and Western influences". I say he has captured reality, a world full of contrasts which coexist wonderfully, the development towards Eastern countries, the mix of Western attitudes with the Eastern world etc.,...and the choice of models also helps in doing so.

As for the clothes... I just adore them! I am a fan of classical style, and this is modern classical with a twist. The straight lines highlight the sleeknes of Armani's style, while geometrical details make the outfit fresh and bold, in a way making a statement for the wearer: "I am confident - and I feel good!". This architectural design of the clothes and accessories is also made more sophisticated through accents such as a nice cleavage (the cut), a snake print (the material), a heel of a shoe (the concept)...

All in all - this is a campaign I really like and I am sure it will be very successful. What do you think?

(Source of pictures:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Versace for H&M Cruise Collection 2012

Ok, so the first collection from H&M in collaboration with Versace (or the other way around) was not so great in my opinion. Contrasting very much with what she had created for her own house Versace, Donatella made a great collaboration with H&M in terms of publicity but not so much in terms of quality. I was extremly disappointed, and the fact that even after over a month from the launch I was able to see a huge stock in a H&M shop in Hamburg - in the center of the city and in the biggest shopping area around - was not a good sign.

For the Cruise collection, the Versace house and H&M have approached things differently, it seems. The released pictures show less glitz and glam but more of feel-good factor, a bit of freshness and playfulness. The accessories, even if almost as bold as the ones in the previous collection, seem to be more feminine, while the men clothing seems to be a bit more conservative while still keeping some typical Versace marks.

From panthers (previous) to fruits,...this collection seems like a totally different attitude. It comprises of 24 womenswear items and 14 for men. The collection which also includes beachwear and lingerie will be available only in a very selective network - meaning in the countries where H&M has an E-commerce site: UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway.

(Source for all the pictures:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Luxury Events Calendar - January 2012 - Selection

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Dear all,
Happy New Year! Hope you have had a great start to the new 2012 and that you are looking forward to a great time a head, a one-day-longer-year - just he best to fit in all the interesting events you might want to write down in your agenda.

I realiza I haven't been active before or around Christmas, was a really busy period for me, nevertheless, one of the gifts I received inspired me for today's post. I was lucky enough to receive a really wonderful watch, and my dear friends know that since I have worked at Montblanc I rarely ever wear one because I have become a lover of watches and picky at the same time.

Why am I telling you all this? Well...the watch above is a sneak peak from Cartier which will be presented at this year's SIHH - Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Geneve. The skeleton watch with a hand-wound movement from Cartier is inspired by the brand's pocket watches from the 30's. This and other beauties like these can be seen at the fair (unfortunately only for professionals), but I have picked also other relevant events from the luxury industry for January 2012. Take a moment to check them out and maybe you will go to one of these. Nevertheless, the products shown then will most likely have a great media coverage afterward. But if you want to be amongst the first, here is your chance:

06.01 - 15.01.2012 - London Boat Show - Yachting & Boating - London, UK
15.01 - 20.01.2012 - Geneva Time Exhibition - Watches & Pens - Geneva, Switzerland
16.01. - 20.01.2012 - SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie) - 21st International Fine Watchmaking Exhibition - Watches & Pens - Geneva, Switzerland
21.01 - 29.01.2012 - boot Duesseldorf - Duesseldorf Boat Show - Yachting & Boating - Duesseldorf, Germany

(Picture source:|000001073|7ebd_LBS10dt-M9633.jpg)
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