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A Timeless Ritual with Amore Pacific | Jeju Island, Korea

Any time someone throws the age-old question of what my skin routine is on social media, my reply had always been ‘foundation and Photoshop*’. More and more so I’m starting to realise that it’s one of those stupid answers, like saying ‘I’m in shape, round is a shape’. One that warrants ‘yeah… not really funny, sis‘ from my bro. As a South Korean, the topic of Korean beauty is popularly thrown into interview questions, one that stumps me entirely – because as someone who grew up in Europe and regularly gets into punch-fights with eczema, beauty alone is still a topic that scares me. Wherever’s it’s from. I don’t have a regime, let alone one rule I can stick by. Every other day my skin wages a coup d’état.

The one thing I do know, and not to sound like my mum, or Christina Aguilera circa Dirrty years, is that beauty comes from within. No matter what you put on your skin, if you eat crap, your skin will be crap – if not now then later. I learnt this the hard way. Kids, eczema truly sucks balls. Korean Beauty apparently boils down to this somewhat corny ideology – healthy, transparent skin that no diamond cream can buy, only a very specific (borderline anal) lifestyle. Put aside all whitening and cosmetic surgery taboos, that’s what drives the industry forward, products that are based on eradicating irritants and championing botanical active ingredients. Make-up is almost an afterthought.

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Jacket – Pinko. Jumpsuit – Mango. Boots – Stuart Weitzman. Bag – Gucci.

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AMOREPACIFIC is one of those S.Korean beauty giants, and their unsung hero? Green tea. Now, I am a coffee-lover who thinks green tea tastes like warmed-up pond water. I am however also someone who eats dollar-store sweets and calls it dinner and therefore should really shut up and get with the program. The Timeless Ritual program – to be precise – which launched the new anti-ageing line TIMLESS RESPONSE in Jeju, a volcanic island just off the Southern coast of the Korean peninsula. One hour from Seoul, 14 hours from London. Timed exactly in the window when the first green tea leaves sprout, the purest and most potent harvest – traditionally worth its weight in gold and main active ingredient of the line.

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Instagram @parkncube

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The first day – detoxing by way of nature, yoga (first time for me, if you can believe) and one of the most invigorating facial massages I’ve ever experienced. The second and final day, restoring through education and experience (a bit of re-toxing on my part with stolen coffee). Turns out I’d been brewing green tea the wrong way my entire life – over-brewing to the point of it tasting like expired spinach water. Hot – but not boiling – water, and 1-2 minutes infusion makes liquid gold – I was sold. I might also consider not putting frozen fish finger-equivalent on my skin, afterall. Stay tuned for a progress-report!

* sadly I do have to resort to light retouching when the going gets rough and I still want to run this blog, a bit of transparency that I hope you’ll understand.


Park & Cube was a guest of AMOREPACIFIC 너무 즐거웠어요, 감사합니다 :)

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Top – Zara. Skirt – H&M

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Bag – Ralph Lauren ‘Ricky’.

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Cropped trench – Reiss (similar). Utility dress – Karen Millen. Bag – Ralph Lauren ‘Ricky’. Leather pants – ASOS. Boots – Zara (similar).

Just a quick check-in while I nurse myself back into one solid time-zone and berate my body that it’s not okay to brush teeth, and 15 minutes later attack a mega-bag of pretzel M&M’s bought at JFK. If this is what it means to be a citizen of the world, I’m just grateful I didn’t pick up a bobblehead Obama as gift to the hubby. That thing’s not edible in any time zone. And I guess poor dude is getting a crinkled bag with 11 M&Ms as gift from NYC.

This outfit was shot in London during a short window between Seoul and New York. I had obsessively lugged around my Ralph Lauren Ricky bag around town containing contents of my carry-on from the Seoul trip – including in-flight socks and mini toothpaste – in fear that if at some point I did unpack, I will not have enough time/brain capacity to re-pack for the next trip, and that I would have to face a flight without, *gasp*, in-flight socks. Great thing about this bucket bag is all the hidden compartments, because my skin was bone-dry 3 hours into the flight and in an inner pocket I found, a fist-load of Avène moisturizer samples that I’d pawed at a phamacie in Paris a couple months back. I won’t elaborate however, on how long I dug at the other pockets in case of a half-eaten pain au chocolat. 

Photo assisted by Simon Schmidt

Jumpsuit – Next. Shoes – Valentino

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Top & bottom – Pyrus

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“Take vitamins. And wear a cardigan – you look cold on your blog” . “Hiii mum.” This year I am 27, going on 28, and that is still the opening line to my weekly phone calls with dear mother. So this feature, essentially, is visual proof for her and the world that I am indeed consuming Vitamins, a more liquid – aka exciting – version of it, in fact. Well, at least on days I forget to choke on a fistful of baguette-sized tablets that is. This is just like when I had to put up a series of food pictures (#didyoureallyeatthat) (#yes) because one day she said “dear you look malnourished”, although thinking back, I really should’ve just have photoshopped a salad into every shot. Next up, cardigans.

This indeed is an editorial partnership with V Water - a relatively new zero-sugar drink that’s packed with Vitamins (B, C and E) and no artificial gunk, sweetened from the natural extract from leaves of the Stevia plant. My favourite taste is the Ginger and Mango that contains a bit of zinc for a boost as well. I had so much fun shooting this – CMYK and all, although this colour scheme happened completely accidentally. As a graphic designer however, one could say that CMYK is never an accident, but a lifestyle. And you gotta read that last bit in your best hipster Morgan Freeman voice.

Art Direction Park & Cube. Photos by Kris Atomic. Shoot assistance Simon Schmidt. In Collaboration with V Water

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Top – Topshop Unique. Trousers – Zara.

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Trousers - Zara. Bag – Gucci. Watch – Larsson & Jennings. Trainers – Isabel Marant.

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CoNrad maldives
Pt 1.
Rangali Island, maldives | www.hilton.com/

I did receive a fair bit of warning before heading to the Maldives: that the islands will take my heart and drown it deep, deep down the Indian Ocean; that I will experience a kind of feeling not so dissimilar to love, or absolute bewilderment. Like the first time I tried Chipotle? I asked, and they all said EVEN BETTER. So I packed high hopes, along with six bikinis, because another someone said most of my time will be spent chasing Pixar characters under water. I assumed they meant Nemo but packed more racy numbers just in case they actually meant Mr Incredible.

Conrad Maldives is 30-minute seaplane flight from capital Malé down into the bluest bit of the globe – by atlas standards a practically invisible clutter of tiny islands located south of Sri Lanka, with a probability of accidental discovery from zero to drunk-and-randomly-clicking-around-Google-Earth-satellite-view. As the seaplane expertly skimmed down onto the glassy sea, I couldn’t help but feel like a bond girl, seeking refuge on a glamorous island with the aid of an international spy – nevermind the ill-digested plane food and a muffin top.

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I had never seen such unadulterated scenery, such literal exhibition of colours, and immediately took up on bumping up adjectives to superlatives: bluest sea/whitest sand/bestest trip EVER…and so on. Indeed just like my first time at Chipotle. And just as I ran out of words starting with ‘A’ to describe the view over a coconutty welcome drink, a smiley Maldivian in white beckoned towards our water villas. Modern and minimalist in style, constructed of de-saturated sea wood, and pulled together by the occasional splash of blue furnishing, mine was one of 71 water villas on the island. Although, the whereabouts of the other 61 was a mystery I never managed to solve.

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I felt right at home, if home was a house above crystal clear water and a glass globe horizon for a view. This feeling of privacy was something I’d never known I cherished in hotels/resorts, I suppose more so that I was to spend the next few days alone, wrestling with a tripod and remote for photos.

As the sea lapped at the beams of the villa and the outdoor Jacuzzi gurgled every so often to compete, I was already unbuttoning my heart to give to the sea at the Conrad Maldives. And I’d soon learn that no amount of snorkelling or diving I’d be able to retrieve it.

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Stick around for part 2, and once again a happy 10th birthday to Ithaa, Conrad Maldives’ undersea restaurant – more on this later.

Park & Cube was a guest of Conrad Maldives, all views and opinions are my own.

Swimsuit – Victoria’s Secret

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Bag – Coccinelle

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With every passing season it seems more and more apparent that I approach Fashion Week dressing exactly like how I prepared for my GCSE’s: Revise the crap out of the first exam on schedule (history), and then sob through the rest, cramming two years’ worth of curriculum every night before exams while simultaneously replacing water with Red Bull in my circulatory system. Fast forward about ten years later – same drill, different liquids. If ya know what I mean.

Here’s sort of a play-by-play:

All photo assistance by Simon Schmidt.

London fashion week
Day One
Confident. Prepared. Even bothered to wrestle with the printer to have the day’s itinerary at hand. Memorized the show schedule to the tune of Family Guy opening song. Three look changes neatly folded in the trunk with one to spare, we’re shooting a video throughout the day and the Hyundai Santa Fe is my changing room on wheels again. Windows not tinted dark enough but it’s Day One and I’m pumped.

Coat – Charlie May. Faux-fur stole – ASOS. Skirt – Joseph. Boots – Stuart Weitzman. Top – Zara.

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London fashion week
Day Two
Early start, breakfast in the car. Make-up completion level: 8/10. Pret plastic spoon in one hand, eyeliner in another, someone’s eating granola with an eyeliner again today… Balancing on 4-inch heels and feeling like I’m up to some good. Promises self to go home and blog everything I’ve seen today.

Cropped-trench – Reiss. Jeans – Levi’s CT. Heels – Gianvito Rossi. Dress – Razan Alazzuoni. Bag – Louis Vuitton.

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London fashion week
Day Three
Hummed tune to Family Guy over breakfast and only managed to sing ‘sex on TV’ bit correctly. No idea what’s happening today, fingers crossed assistant knows. Wearing trainers in case there’s some running involved. Ran to the loo in McDonald’s between Topshop and Paul Smith.

Sweater – Isabel Marant. Jeans – Topshop. Bag – Marni. Scarf – Acne ‘Canada’

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London fashion week
Day Four
Stuck a hand inside the khaki side of the wardrobe and pulled out outfit at the peak of desperation. Figured you can never go wrong with khaki, except maybe looking like a farmer a little. Coccinelle bag surprisingly roomy and fits camera et al. Scooore.

Quilted Jacket – Barbour. Denim jacket – Levi’s. Belt – Vintage Louis Vuitton. Culottes – Topshop. Bag – Coccinelle. Fedora – Hoss Intropia
Coccinelle
Top Handle, snakeskin effect

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London fashion week
Day Five
Peeled out layers from the laundry basket, ended up looking (and smelling) like a college student. Not sure what fashion even is anymore. Tommy, can you smell me? Turns out wearing everyday clothes = higher productivity level. No actual work done, but somehow managed to deplete phone battery by noon. Added this skill into CV with remaining 1%.

Bag – Aspinal. Jeans – Levi’s CT CT. Top & Blazer – POLO Ralph Lauren.

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