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photography SHINI PARK & ABI OMOLE. research ZANA WILBERFORCE. by invitation of BENTLEY COLLECTION

According to a veritable source (the stars apparently, mostly evangelised by my wide-eyed, annoyingly brainy copywriter Zana), my Libra moons means that I’m fiercely just and favour balance. If immense speed and slowing down could happen at the same time, I would compare it to driving my wheel of choice (second to cheese wheels) Bentley Bentayga in the Alps of Bavaria. You’re zooming ahead at 100 km/h in just 4 seconds while simultaneously transporting your mind out of the hustle and bustle of the city. The added tinge of serenity comes from the innate luxury of our immediate surroundings: Think camel leather, intricate woodwork and a hand-stitched steering wheel. As you climb onto the leather seat, a warm and comforting sensation wraps your entire being like an all-encompassing hug – much like toting a Bentley Collection leather jacket.

…up and up toward the Alps, a backdrop of rocky grey mountains set before our eyes like an intricate oil painting in an alfresco gallery.
Sweater & Skirt – Louis Vuitton. Shoes – Zara.

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Bentley Collection: Meindl Factory—Kirchanschöring, Bavaria, Gemany

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“The jackets are inspired by the design language of our cars, celebrating Bentley’s rich heritage, from racetrack to road.”
Karin, Director of Brand & Lifestyle at
Bentley Motors

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The mixing, blending, balancing, mélanging continues as we’re exposed to a Bentley Collection jacket being nursed into form at Meindl that very much resembles the sturdy and stoic vehicle… in an alternate form. The factory is nestled right in the seam of the German/Austrian border, a stone’s throw from Salzburg and a stride from snow-capped Alps. The brand itself is famed for hand-crafted Lederhosen and hiking boots i.e the Bavariand uniform. The 120-step process behind the production of the new “Iconic Classic” leather jacket enhances Meindl’s 300-year commitment to craftsmanship. Created from supremely soft lamb, the jackets are a reincarnation of the Bentley Motors visually, replicating the shape of a Bentayga dashboard and echoing elements of the steering wheel. They’re also a replica of the Bentley personality: polished, noble and adventurous.

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We clock snow-capped peaks in the side mirror and graze virescent rolling tussocks towards a whiter horizon. Where to stay? Hotel Sacher. The establishment home to many an Emperor (Franz Joseph), Kings and Queen, the only royalty I’m anticipating tonight is a slice of the original Sachertorte. There’s an opulence that isn’t pretentious, the rooms are luxurious and cosy at once. After all as Bentley teaches us, balance is key.

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REBIRTH: the only word that truly represents St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort – not so much in the sense that you become a balmier and better version of yourself, revived after a period of existential crisis – although that definition could work too. I mean it literally, the phenomenon of returning to a blissful time when you could rely on a respectable adult to attend to your every whim (mama? papa?), much like the personalised butler you’re assigned at St. Regis Maldives who’s ready to arrange and organise every aspect of your life for you. Because he knows you’re a mess and he’s basically written The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying (someone’s life, for 2 weeks) before Marie Kondo even thought about vacuuming.

Jumping on the seaplane, minuscule specks transform into 77 vast villas and 6 restaurants as we approach the resort engulfed in a stream of startling sunlight hugging peak roofed beach villas and infinity pools. Notes of cream and cobalt decorate the resort’s soothing interiors. Soothing is a word invented for St. Regis Maldives, from the buttery warm sea breeze, to the check-in that does NOT require awkward feet-shifting at a reception desk as a ponytailed staff tries copying down your married (Polish, mind) name.

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The setting transports you to a futuristic marine-inspired universe, surrounded by huts in the form of stingrays and a restaurant shaped like a giant octopus. It’s like a hyper-modern Sea World for grown-ups (this I love – the resort is catered to families but really designed for designer ‘getaways’, if you get my drift) There’s an acute focus on sea life, nature and an eco-conscious aesthetic home to St. Regis Maldives as opposed to the overused ‘Robinson Crusoe luxury escape’ theme so commonly associated with the Maldives. Casual activities include chasing turtles around in the tropical waters and spotting reef sharks and stingrays, unlike other Maldivian hideouts that have been severely suffering coral bleaching in the past few years.

In fact, it’s the smaller details that make St. Regis Maldives stand out from the rest: wooden ceilings incorporating traditional Maldivian craftsmanship, coral chandeliers and headboards made of recycled glasses beads that sparkle in the natural sunlight, all streamlined by WOW Architects ׀ Warner Wong touch – not to mention the ‘Island Mary’ bloody Mary served in a nautilus shell and infused with Kala Namak salt.

By day two, we dub the island ‘Neverland’: we NEVER, EVER want to grow up.

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Kaftan – Tallulah & Hope

‘Island Mary’ bloody Mary

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The St. Regis Maldives
Vommuli Island, Dhaalu Atoll, Vommuli, Maldives
+960 676-6333
www.marriott.com

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photography SHINI PARK. as guest of ST. REGIS MALDIVES (all views my own)
photography SHINI PARK
styling SIMON SCHMIDT
production CUBE COLLECTIVE

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Created for
Tu Clothing

I’ve been nursing a serious case of ennui in the form of a writer’s block for the better half of the past year – and yes I know, one needs to be a writer to have ‘writer’s block’ (does Ex-blogger-slash-self-proclaimed-CEO-of-Internet Block go down better?). Articles here are usually fuelled by what I’m sure is an illegal amount of caffeine and a cursory re-reading of the ENTIRE blog archive*; mostly to spark any sort of desperate magic that places words onto paper, but also to remind my jaded self of the joy and elation I once used to feel when sharing my thoughts online, way back when. i.e Before the Insta-era, when success wasn’t measured in crude numbers and product placement was as organic as

free-range Alpine cows that donated milk out of generosity for humankind.

Something else dissolves my ennui – or Nonplussitude (what did we end up calling this?) – this time around; the days are warmer, and it is Graduate Fashion Week season after all. Seeing as I’m not allowed within 500ft of a school, this is probably also the next best thing to being near young talent.

I’M KIDDING.

*It’s a faaaairly effective technique in that I can probably write 150 words after about six hours of reading, which means to write one full article I will have needed to seek apprenticeship in a dusty monastery in the Himalayan foothills or frickin’ Kamar-Taj under Benedict Cucumberpatch.
Also, in November 2018 we hit the 10 year anniversary, after which point I can quite confidently say I’ve written enough words to warrant a phD, yes/no?

Young talent is de facto the new definition of the Rock & Roll attitude.

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…to celebrate youth, tenacity and charisma!

I do relish sounding like a Dementor though. It’s not enough that I shroud myself in under-25yo employees (not only because I see promising futures in each of their sparkling eyeballs but because their electric enthusiasm gives me vitality like a Pret A Manger ginger shot), I just love the idea of being an all-black, cloaked, flying figure. CHIC!
Young talent is de facto the new definition of the Rock & Roll attitude. The rockstar confidence of the two 2018 Tu scholarship graduate collection winners, Amy Vanderwal (menswear) and Laura Gillings (womenswear), inspires this second story we shot for Tu Clothing, that seeks to celebrate youth, tenacity and charisma.

…androgynous tailoring as shared between the Rolling Stones and their girlfriends.
Kaia wears: GFW Striped blazer & trousers – Tu Clothing. Boots – Coach. Hat – Vintage.
Maria wears: GFW Dress – Tu Clothing.

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Vanderwall [menswear] takes inspiration from punk, Vivienne Westwood and The New Gypsies

Riley wears: GFW Striped t-shirt, Tartan shirt, GFW denim shorts – Tu Clothing.

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Both collections speak in volumes, with bold, clashing prints and silhouettes as if rebelling against conformity (equivalent to me throwing an impromptu gel manicure appointment curveball at the overpacked Google Calendar). Last year saw Genevieve Devine and her embellished twist to historic workwear. This year, Vanderwal, mentored by Oliver Spencer, takes inspiration from punk, Vivienne Westwood and The New Gypsies; while Gillings, mentored by Henry Holland, delve into lush androgynous tailoring as shared between the Rolling Stones and their girlfriends.

Finally, as per legends of Rock & Roll and cult followers, this is also a story of thick-as-blood friendships and impenetrable creative community of young talent. Plus, a friendly price-point that rocks all our worlds.

Ruffle sleeve stripe blouse, Ruffle Hem Slim TrouserTu Clothing

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Faja (left) wears: GFW Ruffle Sleeve Stripe Dress. Maria (right) wears: GFW Stripe Overlay Tunic – Tu Clothing.

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production ELLEN LI
models FAJA EICKHOFF (NEXT), MARIE M (WILHEMINA). RILEY REES (HMG MODELS).
hair & makeup AGA DOBOSZ (CAROL HAYES)
lighting technician NATHAN SCOTT
runner ZANA WILBERFORCE
runner VALENTINA STANDHARTINGER

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Created for
Tu Clothing

Striped belted jacket – Tu Clothing. Hat – Vintage.

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Created for
Tu Clothing

What’s it called when you hit a certain age (or ‘life stage’, given age does not equate experience) and you’ve tried everything at least once and nothing truly phases you anymore, or makes you tingle, or rouses those wild butterflies in your stomach? Nonplussness? NONPLUSSISM? I have that. I think I AM that: Captain Nonplus. It all started with a teenage ploy around Y2K to seem socially ‘cooler’, to appear as though opportunities should be grateful to have found my divine, supple presence. Except, this pretence has now stuck as a pesky personality trait. So much so, that my public reaction to the Beyonce & Jay-Z joint album was a ‘meh’ and a shrug. YOU MAY CALL THE POLICE.

Internally of course, and in the privacy of my own padded cell room and hi-fi system, I too praised hip-hop royalty.

This is why surrounding yourself with people that still gasp, or make other similarly satisfying appreciative noises, is crucial. My team is my vita, hence. This is why Graduate Fashion Week is so important. Isn’t the giddy excitement of young, unbridled enthusiasm practically palpable (at the risk of sounding like a dementor)? When frazzled nerves meet performer’s adrenaline, as years of experimentation is combed into artistically/commercially viable collection, then presented on a stage… all of this generates a sort of zing that keeps the jaded industry feel something again.

A Spoonful of zeal
…makes the apathy go down.
Top sartorial billboard charts with black & white stripes paired with solid neutrals’
Stripe belted jacket
Tu Clothing
£32








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This, my second year of supporting the Tu scholarship collection, is in part a selfish way of reminding myself of the sparkle – wedging myself into the pie, for which the main ingredient is young talent, a spoonful of zeal, a dash of rock & roll and mentoring by way of Henry Holland. More on this soon.

Jumpsuit – Tu Clothing. Boots – Coach.

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Created for
W=Hb2

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Lausanne, Switzerland

Geneva’s airport is built so that its visitors are in gentle unison: the departee and arrived, the yin and yang of journey. It’s a soothing notion, though an impossible concept in London, I think to myself as I swivel my overnight luggage past a queue of businessmen expertly fishing out wallets and keys from various nooks at security control. We’re headed to breakfast with Yilin, founder of W=Hb2 in Lausanne: a hop, skip and a manual transmission rental away. The woman at the Europcar desk asks whether we will be crossing the

Swiss border at any time during our rental period, and all three of us simultaneously shake our heads grunting out a long ‘noo’. Our destination is but two hours away, and the route allows us to skim Lac (lake) Lausanne to the right My eyes are on the road (one hand in a pack of Pret’s yoghurt glazed cranberries), but Simon is engrossed in updating the car of the unfolding scenery in an array of noises from the back seat. To be fair, this is quite unlike our usual route to work on the Overground.

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…gleaming rose-gold and frosted body, with two adjacent pumps in the shape of the ying & yang symbol.

Workout top – Nike. Cashmere joggers – Movers & Cashmere

“W is Tungsten, right…?” I rack my brains for a shoddy GCSE memorisation of the period table and Yilin giggles over her green tea. She’s a Chinese-born biochemist of Imperial London background, and I’m not helping myself by trying to figure out what W=Hb2 stands for. The Power Duo Face Serum stands between us in gleaming rose-gold and frosted body, with two adjacent pumps in the shape of yin & yang symbol. “Wellness = Health x Beauty squared”, she says (ahhhhh), which targets inner health (H) and external radiance (b) charged with good energy, or chi in Chinese. And the optimal balance: or La formulae secrete.

The science backs this up, as Phase I (left pump) is composed of the resilience of the Alpine Rose (PhytoCellTec), Tri-peptide and Probiotic Bacterium, which kick-start the regime with an anti-ageing layer – light and refreshing to the touch. Phase II (right pump) cloaks the skin with anti-pollution and brightening ingredients such as Niacinamide and raspberry cultured stem sells.

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Two separate rose-goldpumps aform the yin and yang symbol

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The brand is decidedly Swiss in science, it‘s in the water, the nature, the Alps.

The brand is decidedly Swiss in science, “it’s in the water, the nature, the Alps”. Yilin, a warrior in her own right (could easily pass for royalty in the Qing dynasty), who notes that Chinese greens is her favourite food but heartily orders a Full English at breakfast, wants to change the landscape with this new player in the market. It’s almost philanthropic, a call for conscious beauty rituals of sorts, a yang to the existing yin.

The GPS re-routes us to a diversion that avoids the rush traffic back to Geneva and we find ourselves in the depth of the Swiss Alps, the air getting crisper by every hairpin bend. By dusk our balance was restored, our little stint with Yilin in Switzerland had offset the hubbub of stale routine in London. We cross the border into France twice as we navigate back into the city and decide not to tell the rental car company about it.

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photography & words SHINI PARK. photography assistance SIMON SCHMIDT created for W=HB2