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photography SHINI PARK hosted by CONRAD MALDIVES supported by CHANEL

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Swimsuit – ONIA. Sunglasses – Chanel.

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Power of nook and cranny

This is something I noticed only on my second jaunt to the Indian Ocean, but the Maldives isn’t your usual fly-and-flop destination. It’s an archipelago of paradise islands that is as close to blank canvas as you can get on a holiday. There is no silver screen reference starring a Hepburn sister, or stripy/nautical uniform a la French Riviera, and certainly no techno beats reverberating out of the clubhouse, courtesy of DJ Ibiza. There are no rules, or things ‘you must/mustn’t do’ (i.e Do not order a Mai Tai in Saint Tropez). In fact, you may have troubles packing for your first time. All that’s provided is nature in its incorrupt, innocent entirety, and wholehearted Maldivian hospitality. Add to that: Sun (unabridged), celestial skies, immaculate coral beaches and at times, warm rain. The Conrad Maldives understands this well, which is one of the many reasons for my return. The two private islands – joined by a footbridge overlooking the occasional manta ray – is full of nooks and crannies. This lends an illusion of being alone on an island, with a fully-equipped gym, water sports centre and a sunrise yoga session, or an excellent in-villa dining menu and a comprehensive DVD library, if you wish. It’s a DIY holiday – any agenda fits.

The dress code? Come as you are. White does swell, but any colour you find in the Maldivian sunset is a safe bet. No heels, unless it’s a ‘housewarming’ item, like your favourite candle from home.

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Don’t miss the fish (read: shark) feeding at Mandhoo
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Rangali Island, Rangali 20077, Maldives
+960 668-0629
hilton.com
Scarf – Nazanin Rose Matin. Sandals – Chanel. Swimsuit – ERES. Sunglasses – Chanel. Bracelet – X JEWELLERY

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sunglasses CHANEL bracelet X JEWELLERY towel CHANEL swimsuit ERES

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Boyfriend shirt – ASOS. Pouch – Loeffler Randall

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creative direction SHINI PARK photography assistance SIMON SCHMIDT created for CALVIN KLEIN WATCHES
Sweatshirt – ENLIST. Trousers & Garters – Eudon Choi. Watch – Calvin Klein. bracelet – Calvin Klein

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It’s that time of year when saying it’s that time of year again…, followed by a wink and a click of the tongue, forgives all manner of sins, however many chocolate money’s worth (Six a day and rising). This is exactly my end-of-year routine in 2015, and 2014, and 1993. No matter what farfetched diet I’ve committed to during the year. Maybe more chocolate coins, and less winking in the 90’s. As a matter of fact, I only successfully learnt to wink without breaking a rib when Britney split with Justin Timberlake. Don’t ask me how these things are related.

jumper HOUSE OF SUNNY trousers HANGER INC watch CALVIN KLEIN boots J.W.ANDERSON

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dress J JS LEE shoes J.W.ANDERSON watch CALVIN KLEIN

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Everything comes full circle, like a little dance routine, a funny little dance that is. Like when Simon twirls around the camera tripod and I shove Monopoly money in his belt. It’s also time to wear your Calvin Klein shape watch outside your jumper because that’s how badly you need to keep track of when the last Royal Mail cut-off date is for Christmas. After that point, you’re crossed off your mother’s will and you know how badly you need to be in it AFTER YOU ATE ALL YOUR MONEYS.

Happy eleventh hour, kids. Wishing you all a safe passage from deadlines to holiday dessert-induced-comas.

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photography & words SHINI PARK created for BENTLEY and BALLY
…like something out of a comic book in blue and red

Our drive from Geneva’s airport, along the namessake iridescent lake and through the spirited town of Vevey (only to stock on road nibbles, first-aid medicine and cash) right up to the foot of the Grimselpass was done in near-absolute silence. Not a single tune filled the Bentley Flying Spur W12 S, conversation tapered to pensive grunts, and after a while, the only sound in our rolling chamber was the gentle clicking noise of the turn signals. Even the inbuilt GPS, perhaps sensing something sacred, signalled silently but earnestly with her animated arrows. Without telling each-other so, my husband and I had been busy soaking up the innate luxury of the car, silently fingering seat controls and grazing the graceful lines of the athletic dashboard with our eyes. The scent of new leather permeated the car, reminding of the freshness of the journey.

It was only when I pulled over at a lay-by at the base of the pass, delicate snowflakes melting on the gleaming hood of the purring Flying Spur, when the excitement kicked in. We started the climb, all windows down, Bluetooth paired, blasting the James Bond medley as we heard a waterfall roar somewhere in the distance. 52kms down, 921 to go. Our sprint through the Alps was to be short but resolute, in scaling heights and documentation. But as ever, when it comes to Bentley, I – the driver – am the sidekick.

Copy in this feature is a revised adaptation of the Bentley Magazine Issue 59 article.

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Swiss Air

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A string of hairpins up a mountainside to a sleepy village, with almost no traffic at all, does it get any better?

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We were chasing the point where the rain was still snowflakes.

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Where to stay? Grimsel Hospiz, its fire-brick red shutters pronounced amidst a medley of snowy whites, greens, and rock-face greys.

Its façade like something out of a Wes Anderson flick. It’s as remote as it gets, perched atop Grimselsee reservoir, with views that make you reconsider the one night stay. The kind of place where, in winter, the snow is piled high and the hot chocolate and ratatouille lasagne dinner, the things you wake up for. Stay at least 3 nights, if you can afford the time.

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Hotel Grisel Hospiz
Grimselpass, 3864 Guttannen, Switzerland
+41 33 982 46 11
www.grimselwelt.ch
Wearing: All Bally Apres-Ski resort

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Sean Connery in Goldfinger (1964)

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The Flying Spur W12 S is like a modern sculpture, gliding by mountains of solemn might, hailing similar ideals of strength, timelessness and endurance.

Wearing: All Bally Apres-Ski resort

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Kitzbühel: Where to stay? The Bentley Lodge is a homely, wooden, Austro-Alpine bliss, swathed in all the necessary fluffy carpets and branded woollen blankets.

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Bentley Lodge Kitzbühel
Franz-Reisch-Straße 21, 6370 Kitzbühel, Austria
+41 33 982 46 11
www.bentleymotorslodge.com

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973 kilometers (603mi), one short flight into Heathrow, and four keen weeks later, the five-page feature is available in Bentley Magazine Issue 59.

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mythical ambrosia favoured by Greek gods as they loitered above the clouds on Mount Olympus
photography & words SHINI PARK created for CARTIER

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The lifts at Fondation Cartier pour L’Art Contamporain glide up without hesitation, gradually lending a slightly more scenic view over the 14th arrondissement at each level. The hubbub of the foyer is long since muffled as I step off onto the top floor and into the office/laboratory of Cartier in-house perfumer, Mathilde Laurent. Later I would realise, that this 20-second ascension would be more symbolic of this brief stint to Paris than any souvenir I dare brought home.

The office is through a set of corridors and the laboratory itself, and I can’t help but observe the distinct lack of smell, or scent, until I reach Mathilde’s light-swathed office. “Sorry, I’d hoped it would be sunny for you!” she says entering, beaming, with a box of Ladurée macarons in her hands. She is like a friend I haven’t seen in a long time.

And despite the twenty-four fragrances developed under her tenure – L’Envol de Cartier being the latest – the office doesn’t boast one in particular. None, rather. At the same time it triggers an explosion of senses.

There are philosophical quotes on the windows hand-written by Mathilde herself; plants – dry, cut, fresh, amongst vials and tester arms from the laboratory; and behind her desk, a collection of shoes and magazines – glittery Miu Mius and gold-painted Converses. The space has a Phillipe Starck-like sense of humour. In the meantime, Mathilde nurses a pot of Juk-ro (죽로차] (a South Korean black tea from bamboo leaf) that she calls her drug. The earthy, almost cake-like smell of the tea mixes with the crisp November air that seeps in from the open balcony door and all my senses stir awake.

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My genius is in my nostrils
– Nietzsche

We talk about macarons (she has my favourite: orange blossom), her daughter, and intuition. She waves me over to her desk where she brings over a stack of Cartier signature red jewellery boxes and points at one labelled XI – aptly named, L’Heure Perdue, and launches a stunning video clip that illustrates the scent as I inhale the inside of the box. “It smells like a warm hug”, I say sheepishly. and then learn that this overtly human, emotional scent was composed using only molecular ingredients.

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There is something mythological, and abstract about her approach to her work in fragrance. Her eleven years at Guerlain and the eleven now at Cartier would attest to that – her latest creation L’Envol is perhaps the perfect embodiment. Inspired by ‘Hydromel’, the immortality mead of Olympian gods and theoretically designed for men, L’Envol is not a caricature of masculinity. It is an embodiment of intuition, bravery and the split-second of panic/elation when something takes flight – a wild idea perhaps, or a hot air balloon. The fragrance blends Gaiac wood with notes of honey on intense musk and patchouli, and is presented in a refillable bottle; another tribute to the Cartier belief that every one of its objects should last forever.

As I say goodbye to Mathilde and make my descent to catch my taxi back to the station, I feel as I’ve stolen away a vial of liquid luck from the clouds.

A waist-high black panther guards Laurent’s office

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“Listen to your instincts when you buy perfume, it has the power to set you free.”

– Mathilde Laurent

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Top – Helmut Lang. Skirt – Zara (similar). Boots – Stuart Weitzman

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creative direction SHINI PARK photography assistance SIMON SCHMIDT created for STUART WEITZMAN

You click, you add to cart, you open two more tabs, maybe a few more… add more stuff into baskets, rip a bit of your eyebrow out, chant ‘Velvet booties’ enough times to make it sound alien, Google “Is velvet sexy?”, land on Henry VIII’s Wikipedia page, cobble together a Bloody Mary from leftovers in your fridge… open more tabs…

See, sometimes, just sometimes, it’s nice to unplug yourself from the online shopping rut. For the sake of sanity, for the sake of you poor readers having to read that first paragraph. So out I went, equipped with a sturdy pair of boots, a bottle of water, a torch and a can of jungle bug-spray (how does one do this again?). I headed to the Stuart Weitzman flagship on 200 Regent Street, fixated on scratching the Velvet booties itch, but also because I wanted to touch EVERYTHING. Because opening 243 tabs wasn’t an option at home. I WANTED CHINESE BURNS ON MY ARMS FROM SHOPPING BAGS.

Top & sleeves – Emma Charles. Skirt – Dagmar. Boots – Stuart Weitzman.

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Dress – Emma Charles. Coat – Mango. Heels – Stuart Weitzman

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It’s incredible how easily you forget how much fun it is experience a store, to dip into the visual universe that no doubt many heads joined to bring about. This one is my ideal New York apartment: Sleek shelving, modular benches on minimal low-pile carpet and herringbone wooden peeking through. I did what I did best and open as many tabs as I could, just so I can say I made a throne at Stuart Weitzman and sat in it in thigh-high boots.

Dress & sleeves – Emma Charles. Boots – Stuart Weitzman

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