Why go to bartending school?

Practise Margharitas by Adrena

We must now begin to realize that bartending is a serious profession, thanks to all all the fashionable, up-to-date cocktail lounges being established. And behind the bar is no place for amateurs. Real skill takes time, and one of the best places to spend that time honing your skills is at a bartending school.

The Bartending Profession is a part of life
These are the places where most of society meets to pass away a few pleasant hours in an atmosphere of culture and refinement. The outmoded saloonkeeper has no place today, nor do they belong with contemporary customs. Today, we have the well-dressed person who has a complete understanding of their responsibilities in working with the public and the knowledge of blending the many fancy cocktails they will be asked to make and dispensing them in an intelligent manner.

The proper School of Bartending will teach its students in such a way that each will have a thorough, expert knowledge of all the facts pertaining to every type of liquor, liqueur, cordials, wine, honesty, and sobriety. Students will learn the value of the different combinations that will produce a high class cocktail, and above all, they will learn the correct and proper manner to serve these fancy drinks so as to please the most critical patron.

The bartender is a person placed in a responsible position by their employer and they should have the welfare of the business at heart. They are in a position of trust and can either make or break the person or company paying them their weekly salary. It is not an easy position to fill, but it is a very important one.

Why skilled bartenders are important to the establishment
The owner, bartenders, waiters and waitresses are the people who build a friendly atmosphere in any establishment. Knowing how to build a fancy drink and serving it is just a part of your duties. Knowing how to perform always with a friendly smile and a pleasing personality with customers and fellow employees will be your main responsibility.

A customer will usually patronize an establishment to meet their friends for an enjoyable evening or to visit with their favorite bartender. Many times during your workday you will hear customer's problems and discussions of their day-to-day activities. People will be watching you at all times, seeing how you perform in your duties. One of the determining factors that bring customers back is the pleasing personality of the bartender.

Many of the schools turn out crappy bartenders, so before you decide to plop down a few hundred or even thousands of dollars, do you research and see about their course curriculum, instructor history, reputation and job placement rate.

Crescent Schools of Casino Dealing and Bartending in New Orleads by Kevin O'Mara

Don't judge the school by its exterior or slickness either, sometimes the seedy looking schools have real legends of bartending owning them and teaching them and are worth a look.

We'd also suggest the following:

  • BarmanGuide would recommend that you set up a time to go and see the school and meet the instructor. Ask the instructor about their working knowledge in the industry. Where have they worked?
  • There is a lot of false information on websites. A website should clearly state the course outline, class hours, start dates, price, information about the school and how long the school has been in business, professional knowledge of the instructor, and basic policies of the school.
  • Ask to see the course material. Does the school have a proper training manual or do they give you sheets with a bunch of drinks on them to learn?
  • What is the policy on refresher courses and what is the policy if you fail the course?
  • Does every class start at the same time? Some schools have new students starting every week. Everyone is at a different level so a proper flow of instruction is impossible. They are trying to cram as many students as they can into the school but the students lose in the long run.
  • Does the instructor actually talk about how to find jobs, what to put on a resume, give you leads about jobs or what to expect during a job interview?
  • Will the school let you come in and watch a class already in session? If they won't then what are they worried about?
  • If they don't have a payment plan then they are probably worried about dropouts not completing the course and not paying for the full course. If you leave a bartending school without the proper training in the most popular drinks, common blender drinks, martinis and shooters, after dinner drinks and wine and beer service, you may never get through a job interview and will have wasted your money. As in most professions, it pays to be educated.

- Photos:, top: Practice Margharitas by Adrena, bottom: Crescent Schools of Casino Dealing and Bartending in New Orleans by Kevin O'Mara

VPR Matrix F.A. Porsche Design Laptop

Do you secretly wish your mangled-looking laptop would self-destruct so you can replace it?

VPR Matrix F.A. Porsche Design Laptop ReviewIt's not going to happen. So just do the next best thing and replace it, with a much, much hotter one - The VPR Matrix 220A5 laptop ($1,299. US).

Not only is this laptop super fast with 512MB of RAM and a smoking 2.2GHz Pentium 4-M processor, but it's silver and black magnesium case is also super thin and super light.

Hard-core processing power and compact frame sound like an oxymoron? Not any more! This laptop beat out almost all the other laptops in its class in speed tests, and it's only 2.9 kg and 31mm thick!

Think it's too good to be true? You haven't even heard the best of it! Listen up. The VPR Matrix 220A5 laptop was designed by none other than F.A. Porsche! It even says "Design by F.A. Porsche" in silver lettering right next to the sleek black keyboard. Not to mention that this sexy laptop has won numerous awards for its sleek design. Want even better news? Read on...

The VPR Matrix also features a 38.6cm widescreen display. Unlike many laptops, this screen is incredibly bright and crisp. So much so that we noticed a measurable difference between the screen on the VPR Matrix and the screens on other laptops. Everything else pales in comparison - literally!

Wondering if something so pretty could really have enough processing power for hard-core users? Not to worry - this puppy is blazingly fast and built for users who want to edit movies, download gigabytes of media, and stream Internet music - all at the same time.

Want proof? On a 550-MHz Pentium III machine, Adobe Photoshop Elements took 25 seconds to open - on the VPR Matrix it took less than two seconds. It's even rated to be faster than some 2.8GHz Pentiums! And you can listen to CDs when the computer is powered off!

The only beef we had was with the keyboard, as one of the keys popped off the first time we used it. Not a big problem though, as we reattached it and it hasn't come off since.

If you're new to laptops, there is a cute little video called "Bringing Home Technology' that is intended to teach you how to use your new computer, that is automatically launched the first time you power up. If you're not new, what the heck, watch it anyway! It'll remind you how smart you were to put your old computer or laptop out of its misery.

For more information, visit www.VPRMatrix.com

virgins, saints and angels

Having travelled extensively in the land south of my state of California, I was always enthralled by the little details of the sacred you find in unexpected places.

Cheryl Finnegan jewelleryDrive through some side road, and discover an old Spanish church, full of mystical splendour, virgins, saints and angels.

Apparently my fascination was not unique, as Cheryl Finnegan was inspired to produce such masterpieces as you see here, inspired by the churches and crosses that adorn the little village of San Miguel de Allende.

The combination of colour, concept and design are rolled into incredible one-of-a-kind accessories to spice up your ensemble with a Latin flavour.

Cheryl emphasises that her accessories can be worn on the hair, as a belt, a choker, a necklace. "Don't just wear it one way!" she says.

Beautiful creations such as this San Benito Estrella Canasta Blue Buckle or the Paloma Rosary layered necklace with amber SWAROVSKI crystals and a large cross detail that has squared crystals at each point are currently available at VENUE Berlin @ Palais Renaissance.

More information is available on www.vsadesigns.com

The Old Classic Linen is Back

Some men can step out the mouth of an erupting volcano looking perfectly calm, even rakish. Some men are born that way. Others just happen to be wearing linen.

British IndiaSpun from flax, one of the most ancient textiles, linen was woven by the Egyptians over five thousand years ago. Tutankhamen was wrapped in linen when archaeologists dug him up. All the best-dressed mummies wore linen. Linen imbues a man with a prosperous look, even a man with no visible means of support. Linen is also the perfect hot weather fabric.

It's cooler, stronger and more lustrous than cotton. A man in linen looks cool even during the most oppressively hot Singaporean days, when the air wiggles like a desert mirage. Depending upon the weave, linen can be as course as canvas or as fine as a tissue of starlight.

Left in its natural state, linen is the color of a hay field tinged with early morning light, or it can be dyed in faded brights, like a hot day dulled by an afternoon rainstorm. Either way, linen looks best wrinkled, which is part of its disheveled charm.

Linen is what you wear in spring, to help celebrate the defeat of winter, and if you have to work in an office, for when you fling open the windows and let a breeze toss your papers from the In Box to the Out Box. An oversized white linen shirt is the perfect antidote to the stuffed shirt.

Linen pants - whether pleated, with full legs lined to the knees, or cut like sleek jeans-are this season's alternative to khaki or denim. Woven into a drapey linen blazer are memories of Morocco, which is where linen migrates to once summer fades to fall and flannel season begins.

A chair fit for a king, the OSIM iSymphonic

You've got a killer sound system and every latest audio gadget that comes out... but I bet there's one thing you don't have; the perfect chair to enjoy the sound on.

OSIM iSymphonicSure, that tony leather couch doesn't squeak like vinyl, but does it have a built-in microchip that detects the music's frequency and amplitude and translates them into synchronised massage motions?

Didn't think so.

Initially introduced in Singapore and Hong Kong, the OSIM iSymphonic accurately locates essential acupressure points and delivers an intensely satisfying massage.

This intelligent massage chair synchronises to audio-visual signals, delivering the world's first multi-sensory massage experience simply by hooking it up to your audio-visual entertainment system.

That means a multi-sensory massage synchronised to what you see and what you hear, giving new meaning to "sensurround"!

Additionally, there are five programmed health care courses and a manual massage selection. With all these sweet options, the iSymphonic AV gives users an infinite number of massage modes.

This $7,000 chair truly presents a whole new multi-sensory experience that will leave you relaxed, rejuvenated and entertained, bringing perfect harmony to your body, mind and soul. This is one massage experience you'll want to keep your eyes open for!

Ask for Felicia Chia at OSIM in Plaza Singapura, #03-09 Tel: +65 6339 3201 and also at www.osim.biz

Moling's, really good beer...

I've often wondered if beer is the nectar of the gods, or simply the urine of yeast, and have come to the conclusion that maybe the yeast ARE gods.

the beer club singaporeBeer is made by fermentation caused by bacteria feeding on yeast cells and then defecating. In other words, it's a nice tall glass of bacteria doo-doo.

After all, beer is the product of some almost mystical processes that involves the use of a basic list of simple ingredients such as water, hops, yeast and malted barley - right?

Usually. In certain parts of the world, the barley may be supplemented with or replaced by other grains altogether. Like wheat beers, which tend to be thought of as the preserve of western Europe.

They are usually lightly pale, cloudy and strongly spiced (often using coriander and orange peel). My favourite brew Hoegaarden is the perfect example of this.

There are also a number of very different brews produced from malted wheat which come from the British Isles and which often claim ancestry in Gaelic or Celtic mythology. They tend to be a rich golden colour, with little sediment and sporting a variety of citrus flavours.

Recently, while lunching at O'Briens Irish sandwich shop, I discovered a nice little number from Ireland called Moling's Traditional Celtic Beer. This beer is named after the monks who produced the Book of Moling and it's a heady brew which should be poured carefully to keep the head down.

It has a nice floral aroma obviously from a grainy malt, with touches of citrus. For such a simple brew, it is actually pretty complex. You can taste the malt, and a full range of fruit flavours will hit your pallet pleasantly. There's a bitter overtone, making it a pleasant take on the Irish red ale style.

Looking into the brand, I found they also brew O'Hara's Celtic Stout and Curim Gold Celtic Wheat beer, which is brewed using a blend of pale malt, wheat and caramalt. After tasting it, I discovered a lightly hopped tone, which makes for a refreshing light fruity beer with subtle hints of peach, banana and plum. This beer is the perfect compliment to spicy food, and the cure for a hot humid Singaporean afternoon.

All these brews come from a fairly recently established (1998) microbrewery, called the Carlow Brewing Company, located in a small village in the Barrow Valley Region of Ireland - the traditional malt and hop producing region which once boasted a number of breweries.

The brewing tradtions there had been laid aside for over 100 years prior to this revival. While the first two beers show that the Irish don't just brew black beers, O'Hara's Celtic Stout shows that they do that too, and they do it perfectly well. A rich, full bodied brew, it's luxuriously smooth by way of the combination of traditional stout hops, an extra pinch of roast barley and the famously crystal clear Irish water.

It's been said that there are no such things as a bad stout, just that some brands are better than others, this delicious stout ranks high, with just enough malty sweetness to balance the discernible roast bite.

And just who can you thank for bringing these lovely craft-brewed beers to Singapore?

That would be TheBeerClub.com.sg, a specialty on-line beer retailer which just began operations last month. They have ambitious plans to bring great beers from around the world to this world of Dutch Budweiser clones, and they've started with this superb selection of Irish beers.

Additionally, they just expanded with Atomium Premium Grand Cru, a specialty beer from Belgium and gold medal winner of the 2004 Chicago World Beer Championships! Its the only beer in the world brewed from six different types of grains. Check out their website and free delivery offer at www.thebeerclub.com.sg!

Levi's Spring Bottom Pants

Levi's Spring Bottom Pants

A look back with an old time jeans revivial perfect for Steam punks.

Turning the pages back to the turn of the last century, Levi's has come up with a couple of re-releases for the days of yore.

Pictured here is the 'Spring Bottom Pants', originally designed in the 1890s for those hard working men who dug holes in the ground, mined for gold and other precious metals, or just liked to live hard.

These cinchback, center-creased jeans come with elastic suspenders, and are really stylish with a slight French styling that was de rigor during the Gay 90s.

Other offerings (not pictured) include the 'Koverup', a one-piece denim worksuit that was quite popular with grease moneys in the early days of automobiling and 'The Sack Coat', based on the original Levi's jacket of 1910. All in all, an old style look that belongs in every Millennials' wardrobe.

Jool Lingerie comes to Singapore

Two guys named Mike and Mark, after hearing their girlfriends complain once too often about how they couldn't find properly fitted lingerie here in Singapore launched Jool just the other night with an intimate fashion show in the popular expat watering hole Fluid in Far East Square.

Jool Lingerie

Considering the large expat presence in Singapore, bringing in quality European lingerie at reasonable prices is an idea whose time has come, since many of the lingerie stores here don't really cater for the many different nationalities, shapes and sizes, and those that do charge quite a penny. They thought there was a real opportunity to start a successful business catering to this market, and opened their Jool Boutique on trendy Club Street.

But sexy fashions at affordable prices are not the only thing they offer. Without so much as a hint of a smirk on his face, Mark said, "Jool really does cater for the man as much as it does the woman! And what's more, if men pass us their partner's details and preferences, we can arrange to have elegant gift packs delivered to their home or office along with a card and flowers if required".

The lingerie, beautiful in itself, seems designed to enchant and arouse both the wearer and her partner, and judging by the heated crowd at Fluid, we at Think think they've hit the mark. The unique Jool range comes in three individual collections - Erotica, Classica and Romantica. Erotica is a stunning collection of luxurious lingerie from sensual satins to erotic laces, and is designed for pure seduction. The Romantica line is a unique range of romantic garments specifically tailored for the voluptuous figure up to cup size G, while Classica is an elegant collection of classic pieces designed with a touch of passion for everyday wear and nighttime intimacy. Whichever style you choose, you can be sure that Jool Lingerie really will stimulate your senses, as well as your mind.

Jool Lingerie

In my ideal world, people would wear formal clothing only in the comfort of their home, and sexy lingerie could be worn anywhere as it's the perfect compliment to the female form. Lingerie is the ideal kind of women's clothing to make me feel good about my femininity. The sensation of fine and delicate fabric against the skin helps bring out an innate beauty, it really makes me more confident. Unlike last century, today's lingerie is built for comfort and style that makes them even more enjoyable. Designers are paying more attention to what women want by giving them sexy yet comfortable lingerie to wear.

There is a big market for lingerie, widely available from specialty lingerie stores, department stores and mail order catalogues. However, lingerie seems to have found a niche on the Internet as more and more people choose to purchase them online. Not only do they find an abundant variety of lingerie ranging from homely nightgowns to sexy, transparent lingerie, it also gives shy buyers the privacy they want, an added bonus for men who often have a hard time shopping for sexy clothing to give to their special someone (or maybe to secretly wear themselves?). Shopping for lingerie is easier than you think especially because of the wide variety of lingerie choices available.

Whether you prefer something loose and playful like a transparent nightie or a form-fitting corset, there is something for you. If you plan to shop online, make sure the site also offers a refund and return policy in case you are not fully satisfied with your lingerie purchase. Or to ensure you don't end up with inferior goods, check out small boutiques like Jool Boutique, which have some of the best quality lingerie, and in sizes for both local Asian lasses as well as the more continental ladies who call Singapore home. The have a lovely little shop, which in my perfect world, my girlfriend and I agree it would make a wonderful personal closet!

31 Club Street, #01-02, Singapore 069468 www.joolscouture.com

Get a life, at the Life Shop

The Life ShopThere is hope afterall...

Sometimes you walk into a store, and more than just shop there, you want to LIVE there. I'm not talking about the Victoria's Secret shop either (but wouldn't that be nice?).

No, I'm speaking of The Life Shop, a Thai-partnered venture which is in the black book of of every set designer, home decorator and hipster in the know. They have tons of stuff they produced themselves, plus lots of other stuff. This ensemble to the right caught our eye with it's Lotus theme, from the minimalist canvas screenprint ($350) to the cushion covers ($29.90) both perfectly matching the Eileen Grey side table ($425) and the Van Der Rohe modern Italian classic chairs ($990).

The only bit of colour being from the silver Peltzman 15" lamp ($198) next to an aluminum airplane ($59). See, just one visit and you'll need to buy a whole new home for all the great stuff they have!

Raffles City Shopping Centre #03-25, Tel; +65 6732 2366, www.thelifeshop.com

Luxury Skin Creams

Some of these are worth more than their weight in gold!

Sisley Sisleya Elixir

1. Sisley Sisleya Elixir is an intensive anti-ageing programme comprising four vials (one per week). The six main natural plant extracts in this formula are touted to improve firmness, fight free radicals, and improve hydration.

Cle De Peau La Creme

2. Cle De Peau La Creme hydrates and protect skin from inside out with the Total Enzyme Management programme. It reduces signs of ageing like sagging, dullness, pigmentation, uneven skin tone and fine lines. Whitening ingredient arbutine promises overnight clarity. Results are supposed to be visible in a month.

La Prairie by La Prairie: La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream

3. La Prairie by La Prairie: La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream claims to give a visible lift immediately, thanks to a Caviar Firming Complex that stimulates collagen production for firmer skin, and an exclusive Cellular Complex that encourages skin's functions. A combination of anti-oxidants protect the skin.

La Mer Creme de La Mer

4. La Mer Creme de La Mer is an intensive moisturiser and skin smoother which contains a combination of kelp and vitamins that produce micronutrients to energise skin.

Cosme Decorte AQ Cream Meliority

5. Cosme Decorte AQ Cream Meliority restores elasticity and lustre in skin. Its ultra-luxe active ingredients include the Siberian Ginseng and soy extract to stimulate cell renewal and boost immunity.

La Prairie Cellular Radiance Cream

6. La Prairie Cellular Radiance Cream is specifically targeted at mature skin, thanks to a hormone equalising complex and a defense complex against environmental pollution. The liquid and quartz crystals and mineral pigments refract light, so lines are visually minimised. Liquid crystals harness the body's energy for gleaming skin too.

Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lifting Cream

7. Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lifting Cream boasts 54 luxe ingredients combined in a specific order to boost natural collagen production and improve skin's moisture retention and self-defence mechanisms. A rare herb ingredient reduces the appearance of dark spots. Finely milled South Sea pearls in the cream give an immediate radiance to complexions.

Giordano's Dry-Tech

Giordano's Dry-Tech clothing

Sweaty Betties (And Bens)...

Living in a clime where even thinking about going out can cause you to break out in a hard sweat, it's tough to deal with that clothing stickiness that gets you when you really need to walk somewhere quick.

Giordano's Dry-Tech clothingThe solution?

Try Giordano's Dry-Tech clothing, which has a high tech micro-fibre inner layer which sucks the moisture from your skin almost instantly and transmits it through to an outer layer made of pure cotton and knitted especially for swift drying and non-stickiness-ness. This incredibly breathable fabric allows fresh air in, and keeps your body temperature a bit cooler when you're physically active, perfect for the gym or beach!

There's a full range of clothing for people from all walks of life, for the ladies there are classic crop tops, tank tops, 3/4-sleeved tops and track pants, which are available long or cropped from just $19 - $39.

If you have active kiddies, they can go buck wild in a range of polo tee-shirts, tank tops, skirts, shorts and track pants from $16 to $29.

Giordano's Dry-Tech clothing

And of course, for the men who really need to keep cool in these days of global warming and economic struggles, you can sweat in style and no one will ever know.

I found out about these amazing garments when I went out and bought a few crew-necks and some shorts. They also have some sporty polo T-shirts, tank tops and matching track pants. And they're so affordable, it will be no sweat when you get the bill!

Dr Marten's ol'school classics

From the distinctive hang tab at the heel to the yellow stitching along the sole, this Unisex 10 Eye Steel Toe Boot is unmistakably Dr. Martens through and through.

My first pair lasted a decade, thanks to the tough Goodyear welt construction and the deceptively supple leather upper, whichcovers a tough steel toe cap to protect your toes.

The fine haircell leather is of the highest quality, making for a quality boot, no matter what your line of work or choice of pastime. I bought these to replace an identical pair that I've been wearing for ten years.

I got the old ones in Prague, and they were made in England. This new pair was made in China.

They have changed... mostly for the good and only one problem.

There is now more toe room, which I like. However, both heel pads were ill fitted and loose. I had to trim them and stick them back in with super glue. I'm starting to really break them in now and I think I'll love them for years to come. They provide good ankle support and keep my feet warm.

Buyer beware that these boots come very very stiff, and take time to break in. If you try to wear them too long when you first get them, they will most definitely wear blisters on your feet.

Break them in slowly and you'll have a wonderfully comfortable pair of boots to last a long time.

Finally, a camera worth owning; the Casio EX-Z750

If you love high-end digital photography but hate the high-end prices, then Casio has just the camera you need: The Casio Exilim EX-Z750 7.2 Megapixel Digital Camera.

Casio EX-Z750With a 7.2 megapixel CCD imaging element, this sexy, yes sexy, camera delivers superior picture quality with remarkably high definition, while the optical 3X zoom lens and large 2.5-inch liquid crystal display assure enjoyable operation.

If you know your photography, you can switch off the smart auto-system and switch to manual operation, unlike many of the digital cameras out there. But then, why would you?

This camera comes with an extremely versatile array of shooting functions, enabling a variety of effects. Using MPEG-4 format, high quality movies can also be taken in VGA size (640 x 480 pixels) at 30 frames per second, and improved battery life enables the shooting of approximately 325 shots (CIPA standards)* on a battery charge.

When set in its cradle, A/V signal output allows the user to view the photos or movies on an external video monitor such as television. It's ideal for shutterbugs looking to create superior images in challenging lighting conditions.

You can select aperture priority, shutter priority, or simply select from several unique Best Shot modes to enhance the images.

The 0.9-second continuous shooting mode and low light assist, helps capture sharp images such as fast action or low light scenes, perfect for clubbing.

The pre-record or Past Movie mode continuously captures 5 seconds of video automatically into buffer memory to ensure that the user records the critical video prior to pushing the shutter. You can also select from several different Movie Best Shot modes and do simple video editing within the camera.

Very nice indeed!

Botanicus at Anthropology

If you're a denizen of the Holland Village area, then for sure you've already been to the Anthropology shop, full of the little creature comforts that make life softer, and better smelling.


But if you find that part of the town off your radar, now they've opened a second shop in the heart of town at The Raffles Marketplace, Raffles City. In a space filled with a wide array of unique furniture, accessories and lifestyle products painstakingly sourced from all around the world, you'll find exclusive furniture and homewares from G.O.D. Hong Kong, as well as chic ACME Made laptop carriers, Libella designer bedwear, or quirky Flea Circus accessories.

One great thing, from this magazine's home town of Prague (in the Czech Republic) is the line of Botanicus organic bath products. Already a legend there for their cakes of sweet smelling soap, a range of marmalades and sauces and beautiful sheets of natural paper, come see for yourself what a difference is made from all natural materials and crafting methods from the Czech countryside.

Baccarat Boutique in Singapore

Philippe Starcke's dark mood graces Baccarat Boutique.

Baccarat Boutique

Baccarat is one of the most prestigious manufacturers of crystal ware in the world, and traces its origins back to 1764, when King Louis XV granted the Bishop of Metz the right to build a glassmaking factory.

With Louis XVIII the first to buy, commissions eventually came in from the Japanese emperor, the kings of Morocco and Arabia, as well as the intricate crystal tables and chairs ordered by spendthrift maharajas who had their delicate furniture delivered to them on the backs of elephants once it reached the Indian subcontinent. Perhaps one of their most famous clients was the ill-fated Czar Nicholas II and his Czarina.

In October 2003, they opened a museum / show room / shop / restaurant in an old private palace in the city centre on the Place des Etats Unies. (Baccarat Museum: 11 place des √Čtats-Unis, Paris; phone: 33 (40) 221100. Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed Sundays).

Baccarat Boutique

Designed by Philippe Starck, one of France's top designers, and living up to Baccarat's slogan "La beaute n'est pas raisonable" (beauty is not reasonable), Philippe create a very interesting place to visit and you don't have to eat if you don't want to (or if you can't get a table). Philippe, who has just designed for Samsonite an entire range of luggages, from the toilet bag to the handbag... as well as San Francisco's The Clift Hotel, and lent his famous clock design to create a line of beautiful modernist FOSSIL watches, has designed what may be the most stunning corporate headquarters in Paris.

His "Darkside Collection" of glassware will feature prominently at the flagship store in Takashimaya on level 2.

At twice the size of their previous space, there is plenty of space for Gothies with cash to spare to stock up on the moody onyx inspired black crystal pieces, such as the grand Black Zenith chandelier (a bargain at S$91,000) with lampshades, or a black Un Parfait glass set suitable for the dark lord himself at just S$2,960. If you're maxed out on the cards, it's still worth coming by to check out the work of a master artist like Philippe Starck.

- Level 2, Takashimaya Dept. Store, 391 Orchard Road, Tel: + 65 6835 1252 - Fax : + 65 6835 1252, Monday - Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Closed the first two days of Chinese New Year. Country Manager: Lucy Pan