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Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun


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Absolut Canvas

absolut canvas

Say hello to the rarest ABSOLUT VODKA bottles in the world. These 3 bottles come in a production of only 20. Talk about uber-exclusivity.While the name ABSOLUT VODKA would be familiar with most people, not many have seen the vast range of its beautifully designed and rare bottles which the brand has collaborated and commissioned countless artists to create since 1986. I was naturally excited when I heard about the ABSOLUT CANVAS exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore (23 Aug – 2 Sep 2013) where I can feast my eyes on how the biggest names in fashion and design have re-interpreted ABSOLUT’s signature vodka bottle in their own creativity. Some of these bottles are so rare – only as little as 3 pieces were produced and can command up to a street value of S$15,000 for a bottle. Interested to know which bottle that is? Read on ;)

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT CANVAS exhibition

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT City edition bottles which pay homage to each city’s unique icons and characteristics

absolut canvas

absolut canvas

Vodka with a heart
Did you know all ABSOLUT U.S. City editions, proceeds were donated to support local causes? ABSOLUT New Orleans was the first edition in the ABSOLUT VODKA city-series launched in 2007 to commemorate the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Proceeds were donated to the Gulf Coast Charities. It has the aroma of mango and black pepper.

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT BROOKLYN, a blend of red apple and ginger, was designed in collaboration with Spike Lee depicting the city where he grew up in. ABSOLUT SF has an interesting flavour of grape, dragon fruit and papaya. Sounds like a great smoothie!

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT ISTANBUL by Turkish artist Yigit Yazici pays tribute to Istanbul’s iconic emblems, Galata Tower and the strait of Bosphorus. So you can actually learn something about a city from an ABSOLUT bottle.

absolut canvas

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT MIAMI is the brand’s sixth U.S. city-inspired limited edition flavor, joining New Orleans, Los Angeles, Boston, Brooklyn and San Francisco. The bottle design features images of palm trees, flamingos, music tunes and martini glasses representative of Miami’s city pulse from the beach day to the nightlife.

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT bottles immortalised in an artwork

absolut canvas

Black ABSOLUT Crystal Pinstripe Decanter by Swedish designers Skogsberg&Smart  (Far left) – Limited to only 10 pieces worldwide, it has a price tag of €8,000. Hand-blown, hand-cut and hand-engraved,  the design is inspired by the heritage of Saville Row’s iconic pinstripe tailoring. Each one is numbered and signed by the mastercrafter following approval. The clear crystal Pinstripe has a limited production of 800 bottles.

absolut canvas

Some designs come in the form of a second sleeve such as the ABSOLUT DENIM designed by Brooklyn denim expert Loren Cronk. The special indigo denim sleeve is intended to keep the drink in a perfectly chilled temperature at all times. The ABSOLUT SEA CRUISE was only available on board selected cruising ships in the Caribbean Sea, and some fans braved seasickness just to get their hands on a bottle.

absolut canvas

Honey melon and lemongrass-flavoured ABSOLUT EXPOSURE by Swedish artist Johan Renck
Renck photographed actress and supermodel Lydia Hearst in different personas and then incorporated the photographs in bottle printing

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT WATKINS has an interesting spiced coffee and almond flavor, while ABSOLUT FLAVOUR OF THE TROPICS, a limited edition exclusively for duty free, features mango, orange, lychee, pineapple and melon.

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT C’N’C FASHION ANIMAL
Limited edition of 100,000 bottles designed by Italian fashion designer Ennio Capasa.

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT ROMERO BRITTO
ABSOLUT commissioned Britto to design their commemorative 25th anniversary bottle of Absolut in America. This was the first time the brand allowed their signature bottle design to be transformed into a work of art for full national distribution.

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT MODE reflects the world of fashion through twelve facets, wrapped with a band in midnight blue silk cloth with text embroidery.

absolut canvas

No two ABSOLUT UNIQUE bottles are the same in the world and each bottle is serialized with an individual production number.

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT BUTTERFLY and MONKEY
Designed by Nelson Leirner and Daniel Senise, 48.000 pieces of each bottle were produced.

absolut canvas

First-ever China limited edition ABSOLUT 72 BIAN

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT GREENSAVER was a limited edition for Greece in a 700 ml Bottle. It was designed by Greek artist Konstantinos Vita.

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT WALLPAPER
Limited editions designed by Alessandro Guerriero (Wallpaper #1), Gio Pagani (Wallpaper #2) and American artist Ron English (Wallpaper #3).

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT BLANK
Designed by Mario Wagner (2012), Dave Kinsey (2013) and Pilpeled (2013)

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT GLIMMER which looks like a gem with its polished cuts

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT CHROME
This design is characterized by a glued chrome colored or silver colored foil. It was was released in France in 2005, 2007 and for a short time in Germany.

absolut canvas

7-litre display bottles which are not for sale. They would make such great display pieces.

absolut canvas

absolut canvas

Vodka Innovation Edition featuring a series of blended vodkas that showcasing the creativity of mixologists
The bottle for ABSOLUT CRAFT is inspired by Victorian medicine flasks. The Herbaceous Lemon tastes of fresh lemon verbena while the Smokey Tea comes from an infusion of Lapsang Souchong tea with notes of orange peel, clove, and ginger. Both are available at select bars and mixology accounts in the U.S., U.K., and Sweden.

absolut canvas

Crafted from hand-selected estate wheat and blended with soft, naturally filtered water, ABSOLUT ELYX (right) is a small-batch vodka produced according to craft techniques in an authentic 1929 copper rectification still. The result: a handcrafted super premium vodka with an elegant, silky texture.

absolut canvas

A “sparkling fusion” of ABSOLUT VODKA and Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. I like the ornate design on the bottle.

What got me most excited is a little room which housed the Rare Editions bottles which comes in a limited production of fewer than 1,000 bottles each. I doubt most people had even seen any of them.

absolut canvas

The “b Store and Friends” ABSOLUT MODE Edition
ABSOLUT has a long history of collaborations with some of the greatest fashion talents of the world; Helmut Newton, Tom Ford, Versace, Jean Paul Gaultier, Hussein Chalayan, Stella McCartney and Herb Rits since the 1990s.For this particular series, ABSOLUT collaborated with designer boutique b Store to create 60 limited edition bottles (20 of each exclusive to Selfridges) by Peter Jensen, Sophie Hulme and Tim Soar. Tim Soar’s harness design reflects his work with leather and in his own words, suggests “some kinds of fun are strictly for adults.” This has a reported market value of $3,500. Peter Jensen’s patchwork scarf embellishment (inspired by the brand’s iconic rabbit print) doubles up as a fashion accessory while Sophie Hulme’s design features a bronzed bottle with chain embellishments.

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT MODE by Han Sang Hyuk
This special “terminator” edition must be the most exclusive bottle with just three pieces in the world. 2 pieces are in Singapore, and 1 in America. This would be the most expensive bottle of them all.

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT FREESTYLE with fragmented words were sold at France’s Monoprix, and have become precious cos’ most of the bottles were drunk and only a few unopened bottles still exist.
ABSOLUT 1999 was released on 20 April 1999 to commemorate ABSOLUT’s 20th anniversary in the United States. Only 500 of such bottles were produced.

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT MODE by Gareth Pugh
One of my favourite bottles, this takes inspiration from the “Stealth Bomber” arms from his 2007 Spring/Summer collection. Only 75 of this exists in the world.

absolut canvas

“Tack” being the Swedish word for thank you, ABSOLUT TACK was given to Maxxium employees when ABSOLUT was bought by Pernod Ricard.ABSOLUT GAULTIER was launched in Stockholm, Sweden September 2002 with a limited production of 1,200 bottles.

ABSOLUT AKADEMI was issued at Absolut’s Akademi program in Sweden. It comes with a wooden box featuring a bottle shaped cut-out. The label says, “This Akademi Award recognizes your participation in the Absolut Akademi. It is also a token of our thanks for your contribution to the exceptional success of Absolut Vodka.”

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT 100
Limited to only 100 bottles distributed during the grand opening of the new Philipp Plein boutique in Vienna, Austria on 16 February 2010, this bottle by German couture designer Philipp Plein is decorated with Swarovski crystals and a silver skull tassel.

absolut canvas

ABSOLUT GLOW
This limited edition bottle was sold at the Sqweez Animal “Let’s Glow” party in Bangkok, Thailand on October 13, 2012.

absolut canvas

Released in 2010 in celebration of Joyce Boutique’s 40th anniversary. 700 copies were commissioned featuring the artwork of Chinese modern art master Zeng Fanzhi. The bottle sold out within the first three days of its launch.

absolut canvas

I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and was super happy I had an opportunity to feast my eyes on such interesting designs. Perhaps I should try decorating a bottle myself too….*hic* If you are interested to learn more about ABSOLUT VODKA’s creative bottles, the Absolut Vodka Collectors Wiki would be a good start. If you are in Singapore, you can join Absolut SG Facebook Group started by the 4 dudes behind this fantastic collection. I’ve so gotta Friend them…lol

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Hermès “The Gift of Time” Exhibition – A Wonderland of Surprises

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Hermès “The Gift of Time” Exhibition, 1-12 August 2012 @ Tanjong Pagar Railway Station
“Night after night, the top span and danced on the table to the rhythm of a beating heart, tracing its circle with the precision, patience and pave of the second hand of a clockface.”

In conjunction with Hermès 175th anniversary, the luxury house has collaborated with American artist Hilton McConnico, who is also a scenographer, poet and long-time partner of Hermès, to create an exhibition that narrates its history through the sequence of time – the brand’s theme of 2012. First unveiled in Hong Kong in June 2012, the exhibition makes its stop at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station in Singapore for 12 days before heading for Lille, Paris.

Visitors will travel through a circular display of seven rooms housing various forms of mixed media displays comprising Hermès artefacts. Each room brings out different emotions and thoughts in the visitor, and the journey through time is tinged with light humour, surprises and a visual delight of excellent craftsmanship. I found myself wondering about the significance of time, and moments of time which I would like to preserve like a prized Birkin bag.

“Hermès time does not try to master time but rather offers us the time to see and understand this ever changing world”.
Hilton McConnico

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Hermès “The Gift of Time” presented at the now-defunct  Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. A wonderful opportunity to revisit this national monument which has stood through time before Singapore’s independence.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

A dramatic entrance akin to a time tunnel with motifs of galloping horses flanking the walls.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

A memory frozen in time
Wow, the now-defunct KTM train ticketing counter looks so chic! Awesome photo backdrop. The Malay ticketing aunties would have looked so out of place…or like ghosts with the orange light shining up on their faces. Heh.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Hermès “The Gift of Time” Exhibition
The visitor begins the walk contemplating The Origin of Time (Room 1), before continuing on to Free Time (Room 2), Time Suspended (Room 3), In Reverence to the Watch (Room 4), or to The Stroke of Ttime (Room 5), reminding us of the patina on objects (Room 6). Finally, time will be dedicated to a moment of sharing and to the transmission of memories and thoughts (Room 7).

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

The Origin of Time 時間本源 (Room 1)
The first exhibit draws us back to the beginning of time – the sun-dial is moving anti-clockwise to signify going backwards in time. It is also printed in the original print of an Hermes scarf “Astrologie” designed in 1963.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

“Never forget: the first role of Light is to make the Dark more beautiful, and not to measure out the days.
Yes Light, please highlight only the best parts of my body, and leave out the fats.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Room of Free Time 自由時光 (Room 2)
In this room visitors are requested to take off their time-keeping devices so as to forget about time, and gain time in the process. The room is surrounded by transcient moments in time as interpreted  by the artist , and the visitor is encouraged to find a moment which they can relate to. Explore every moment, and get lost in time.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

These quotes spoke to me. The middle row reminded me of the times with chum D. The middle one in the first row left me wondering. *Wink*

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Time Suspended 暫停時間 (Room 3)
Time suspension is interpreted through equestrian – the red-and-white bars you see are set at 2.47 metres – which is the record height ever jumped by a horse. During that moment of jump, time seems to be suspended until the horse touches the ground again. This exhibit also makes reference to Hermès’ beginnings as a saddle maker, and it latest form of the horse saddle is made of titanium and carbon fibre – the lighter the saddle, the higher the horse can jump, the longer it can stay in air – suspended in time. Very abstract, but if you take time to understand the artist’s interpretations, it’s pretty intriguing.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Interesting info: The time reflected in the watch is actually non-existent – you can never get your hour and minute hands to be in that position stuck between 11 and 12 o’clock (go try adjusting your watch). Signifying a time suspended, this is done by adjusting two mechanisms in the watch. Once you click on the watch, you ‘unsuspend’ time and it continues to move as per normal again. If only I can have such a ‘magical watch’.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Balanced time 平衡時間 (Room 4)
The quest for time balance is depicted through a constantly spinning giant top’s quest for equilibrium – it has to keep moving to stay balanced. Like-wise, we can’t control time just as we can’t control the top’s spinning. The fragile nature of time is also expressed through the tableware from Hermès’ conservatory surrounding the top. Very expensive to break indeed.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Les Inversables, Circa 1930
A patented unspillable port service – it can be tipped in any direction and the empty or full glasses remain upright. And unspillable. Very intriguing to watch. I almost got lost in time looking at it.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

The Stroke of Time 輕撫歲月 (Room 5)
When the artist asked Pierre-Alexis Dumas, the creative director of Hermès “If Hermès was an animal, what would it be?” The response was a cat – cos’ it can be very still like the cat observing its prey, or quick to pounce when hunting (oh poor parrot).

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

The pixelated image of the cat,  similar to the parrot is made up of recycled leather bits from Hermès workshop. It’s made up of different textures of leather, and the artist encourages visitors to feel the leather and interact with the exhibit. The more it is ‘carressed’, the leather is conditioned and the exhibit alters its form over time.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

A lime green bag functioning as a pendulum showing wear and tear of an Hermès over time. Left: 1920s bag; Right: The exact bag made in 1990

Hermes Gift of Time

Imaginary time 想像時刻 (Room 6)
This is my favourite exhibit. The visitor enters a dark room with an abstract light projection. He is encouraged to take in the smell, sound and images in the room and go into a spiral of dreams projecting the visitor into memories of childhood, of special moments, of anything significant in life. In other words, create your own moment in time.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

The Gift of Time 時光之禮(Room 7)
In the final room, the artist transports the visitor into a wonderland. He reminds us of the childhoold fable “The Tortoise & the Hare” where the hurried hare loses to the leisurely tortoise . In other words, take your time to truly see the beautiful world you live in. Look out for the cuckoo clock perched on the Tree of Life – it holds an unexpected surprise *wink*

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

“Play time with Hermès. Give your own meaning to taking your time. Are you a hare or a tortoise? Live life at your own pace.”

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

All creations you see in this room are made from defective items from Hermès’ Petit ‘H’ collection which have been given a second lease of life through the meticulous hands of its talented craftsemen.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Made from an Hermès scarf. J’adore! I wanna bring you everywhere!

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Teapots and cups having a second life as lamps and watering cans

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

This Mini Kelly is SO insanely cute!

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Take time to pen a postcard to a loved one at the end of the exhibition. Hermès will post it for you.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Railway tracks of yesteryear – how much memories, goodbyes must have been collected here.

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Get to munch on local favourites at the pop up cafes from the folks at U Cafe, Popaganda, Seng Choong Confectionery and Much Much overlooking the tracks. (Champagne at exhibition preview)

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Display at U Cafe

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Specially designed seating area inspired by train cabins

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Look of the Day
White netted dress: Creature de Keis
Red netted innerpiece: From Hong Kong
Leather Harness: Custom made
Bracelets: Hermes
Polka Dot Stockings: From Hong Kong

Hermès “The Gift of Time”

Walking the Tracks of Forgotten Time
Shoes: Maison Martin Margiela

Hermès “The Gift of Time”The Gift of Time

The first time I met you
The sky burst out in fireworks (literally!)
Never would I expect
That would be the start
To a glowing lifelong friendship

 I will never forget all the moments
That took my breath away
That gave me so much joy & laughter
That gave me high blood pressure
That made me feel truly thankful to be alive

 In so little time we’ve shared
Memories enough to fill the sky
Adventures enough to fill the ocean
Dreams enough to fill the galaxy
And an unbreakable bond enough to last till the end of time

As we move along through this path called life
We will continue to write our story
We will continue to grow and we will continue to share
And prick each other like wild boars
That in all keeps our bond alive

As you travel along life’s journey
Up the tallest mountains
Down through the valleys
Know that you will never walk alone
Cos’ I’m taking this journey with you

As surely as the sun will rise
I will be never far away
From you who is indeed a gift of time
Oh how blessed I am to have you
My chum, my blessing, my guiding light

Hermès “The Gift of Time”
1 to 12 August  2012
Opens 11 am to 9 pm daily
Free Admission
Address: 30 Keppel Road, Singapore 089059
Website: lesailes.hermes.com/na/en/the_gift_of_time_sg

A special thanks to exhibition guide Cheryl for taking me through the exhibits; you made them come alive.