• The European invasion

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    Call the Rolls-Royce launch the grand finale, because the last few weeks have stormed Manila with the entry of European brands, even before the onslaught of heavy rains. What they are and where to find them follows in this special compilation of “The European invasion.”

    Indeed, despite the weather, the Philippines is shining brightly on the global map for all (investors) to see.

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    Biscuits fit for a king (or a queen)

    How many food brands can proudly claim that they carry the Royal Seal of Approval and a rich 120-year-old history?

    Perhaps there is just one—McVitie’s, whose heritage began in 1830 via a provision shop in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. And by 1892, became the bakers of the world’s 1st Digestive whose traditional secret recipe has been used until today.

    In 1893, the company was asked to bake the wedding cake for the union of Princess Mary of Teck and the Duke of York, who later became Queen Mary and King George V. The magnificent cake, truly fit for royalty, stood six feet tall and weighed 466 pounds.

    A British royal tradition is to have christening and wedding cakes done by McVitie’s and Price

    A British royal tradition is to have christening and wedding cakes done by McVitie’s
    and Price

    Because of this “royal” feat in baking, McVitie’s received the Royal Seal of Approval. Since then, it became a tradition for British royals to have their christening and wedding cakes done by McVitie’s and Price. Among the company’s distinguished list of illustrious royal clients include King George VI and Queen Elisabeth in 1923 and the Duke of Kent and Princess Marina of Greece in 1934.

    But McVitie’s turn-of-the-20th-century accolades did not stop. About two years ago in 2011, Prince William, the next heir to the British throne, requested that one of their cakes during his wedding to Catherine Middleton be made of McVitie’s chocolate biscuit. Prince William was fond of this biscuit during teatime as a child and for that momentous occasion in his life, he asked McVitie’s to create it according to a special recipe from the Buckingham Palace kitchens.

    Buckingham Palace then sent the recipe to chefs at McVitie’s, who then made a wedding-sized confection composed of more than 1,700 biscuits and nearly 40 pounds of rich and luscious chocolate.

    “It has a couple of secret ingredients we can’t tell you about but it will have dark chocolate to give it a really nice flavor, and use rich tea biscuits that will be broken up,” said McVitie’s head chef before the wedding.

    Now you don’t have to be royal to enjoy McVitie’s Digestives biscuits. These treats with the British Royal Seal are available at leading supermarkets nationwide.

    Filipinos will now get the chance to experience this biscuit treat fit for Kings and Queens.

    Care for a cup of tea?

    For more information about McVitie’s Digestives, log on to its official website www.mcvities.com or join their Facebook fanpage www.facebook.com/mcvitiesdigestives.

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    French designers mix innovative elements at new beauty hub

    Shoppers at the SM Store of the upscale SM Aura Premier are awed at the elegance of its Beauty Section, as well as its exciting mix of new and exclusive products.

    And why not? With a spectacular emphasis on lighting, attention to merchandising, and a spectacular fragrance area, Malherbe Design has developed the most uptrend and exclusive cosmetic floor, mixing innovative elements to create a shopping haven for women.

    Malherbe is a prestigious French international design firm with expertise in retail luxury design. Its prestigious clients include Dior Beauty, Estee Lauder, Porsche, and Moet & Chandon.

    This is how the French shop for beauty, as laid out by Malherbe Design, at the SM Store of SM Aura Premiere

    This is how the French shop for beauty, as laid out by Malherbe Design, at the SM Store of SM Aura Premiere

    “Retail is all a question of modernity and feminity,” says Malherbe Design. “Developing concepts for L’Occitane, Sephora and Dior Cosmetics, we have put our expertise in the SM Beauty section.

    Elegant simplicity reigns in this retail space where unassuming muted tones meet with the occasional accent of eye popping color, giving the spotlight to the prestigious brands in the sleek metal shelves. The bronze and gold edgings shimmer richly in the carefully directed light. The displays quietly slice through the rows of boxes and bottles, creating clean horizontal and vertical lines, giving the interiors a seamless look.

    There’s also a lot of buzz about the exciting new brands in the Beauty Section.

    There are high profile fragrance names like Bond, Creed, Guerlain, Micallef, Cartier, and Valentino, as well as skin care lines like Lab Series, Clinique for Men, Dr. Jart, and Sebamed.

    For an added splash of color, ladies will find an all-new Beauty Section exclusive nail selection from Anny, BYS, Flormar, Essence, Deborah, Misslyn, Gosh and The Makeup Factory. And there’s a lot more from its selection of international and local brands.

    The SM Store’s Beauty Section is located at Ground Level of the SM Aura Premier.

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    Why you should invest in a good bed

    A person sleeps one third of his life. Considering this, it is only right to invest in a good bed to sleep on.

    It is for this very reason that Fully Booked owners Jaime and Chris Daez decided to bring Hulsta, a 70-year-old, high-end German furniture brand, to the Philippines. With Hulsta’s entry into the local market, discerning Filipinos may now own “the best beds” in the world.

    On June 11, the Daez couple officially launched Hulsta, together with its sister company Rolf Benz, at the Fully Booked showroom at the Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City.

    Hulsta My Suite Home Boxspring bed syste is a millionpeso investment

    Hulsta My Suite Home Boxspring bed syste is a millionpeso investment

    “We are very proud to present our latest venture in the world of furniture and interior design. Hülsta and Rolf Benz are known worldwide for applying state-of-the-art German technology in all their products,” announced Jaime, the managing director of Hülsta and Rolf Benz Philippines.

    While Hulsta is a full-line furniture brand that specializes in beds, Rolf Benz creates innovative and modernized seats and sofas only. Both German companies are owned by the Huls Group.

    With them at the launch were the brands’ area sales managers for Asia, Stefan Fisse for Hulsta and Markus Acker for Rolf Benz.

    The Huslta bed system
    Before the roundtable interviews, Jaime and Chris personally toured members of the press around the 400-square meter showroom for both Hulsta and Rolf Benz.

    Jaime first introduced the German technology that Hulsta incorporates in each of its beds; these are the pocket spring core mattresses with flexible base frame and cold foam topper.

    The spring core system provides micro-swinging properties that avoid muscle tension while moving around during sleep. The flexible slatted base frame has three motors that adjust the beds into different positions to raise the feet, angle the back and elevate the head. Moreover, the slats in the upper portion of the frame have patented slides, which can be adjusted depending on where the upper body needs firmer or softer support. Finally, the cold foam topper has vertical air channels and a pyramid cube cut, also patented, that allows air circulation. This means that the skin “breathes” while you sleep.

    Another variation of the topper is the visco-therm foam, which is also called a memory foam as it remembers the contours of the body as it sinks while sleeping.

    The combination of these innovations not only makes up a Hulsta mattress but also a healthy sleeping experience. “Technology and comfort, that’s a German brand,” Jaime summed up.

    Besides the state-of-the-art mattresses, Jaime also presented Hulsta’s complete bed systems. He related that a complete Hulsta bed system is comprised of the headboard, lighting and ancillary units like drawers and stools, in addition to the bed itself which is made up of the mattress box, mattress, topper foam, fabric and legs.

    And because of the craftsmanship, innovation and timelessness of each piece, it is therefore not surprising to know that one complete Hulsta bed system can reach up to a million pesos.

    In a separate interview with Chris, The Manila Times asked why they decided to bring such an expensive brand into the country. To this she answered, “During the 2009 Milan Furniture Fair, my husband and I were looking for the perfect bed. We discovered Hulsta and we fell in love with it.”

    She further explained, “We really believe in the product. And because Fully Booked is now a lifestyle brand, we thought we can also carry the Hulsta brand. That’s when we decided to bring it in.”

    It is early this year that Fully Booked branched out into furnishings with the opening of its first showroom at the Bonifacio High Street branch.

    As to who Hulsta will cater to, Jaime said, “We cater to the most discerning, high-end clients. Offering nothing less than the best, these German brands, Rolf Benz included, epitomize functional luxury and design precision.”

    In the international market, celebrities, sportsmen and European royalty use Hulsta and Rolf Benz furniture.

    Unique pieces
    Besides creating beautiful bedrooms, Hulsta is also incomparable when it comes to making modern living rooms and kitchens functional and comfortable through its furniture range, including cabinets and drawers installations, dining tables and chairs and home entertainment systems.

    But what makes Hulsta even special is that all its products are customizable to fit a client’s needs. The company puts much attention to details and takes care of the whole process that according to Chris, it takes a minimum of 90 days before the furniture reaches the buyer’s home.

    This is because after an order, the furniture will be manufactured from scratch at Hulsta’s sites in Ottenstein and Stadtlohn, Germany.

    Hulsta’s Fisse explained, “You can give us a wall size and we will design a wall system for you. It is very customizable furniture. More importantly, Huslta is not just about selling. We also do not compromise after sale which includes shipping and installation.”

    Hulsta is very serious in its craft that according to Fisse, a Hulsta team even went to the country to train Filipinos who will do the local fitting and installation.

    Gone green
    Hulsta originated from a carpenter’s workshop founded by Alois Huls in 1940. After the World War II, his son Karl transformed Hulsta into a furniture company that helped make new homes in Germany. Still a family-owned company, Hulsta kept its love for wood as seen in its full range of living room and kitchen furniture.

    Aware of the environmental problems using wood brings, Hulsta, for the past 70 years, has been exclusively using wood from sustainable sources. The company has long been following environmentally-safe and sustainable practices in the manufacture of its furniture at a time when it didn’t matter yet.

    This Hulsta philosophy has finally been recognized with the Blue Angel seal, which is the first environment-related label for products and services in the world. Since 1978 it has set the standard for eco-friendly products and services selected by an independent jury in line with defined criteria.

    “Today, more and more customers are getting conscious about the impacts of things to the environment. And I can guarantee that all our products carry the Blue Angel seal. We only source from forests where the trees will be replaced. And the chemicals used for our lacquer finish are water-based therefore it is safe to the environment,” Fisse assured.

    Designs to last a lifetime
    For the last few decades, Hulsta and Rolf Benz have been among Europe’s most renowned furniture maker alongside famous Italian brands. But when it comes to design aesthetic, the German companies can even surpass the Italians because it is expected to last for decades thanks to the quality and timelessness.

    For example, Rolf Benz best-selling product until today is the 28-year-old 6500 design which has first been only a couple of years after Rolf Benz was born. “This design is a classic. Because of its timelessness, it is displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York,” Rolf Benz’s Acker said in at a roundtable interview.

    “In Rolf Benz, our sofas and seats are not only contemporary now but still contemporary in the next 20, or even 50 years. For me, that’s what categorizes a good design,” Acker ended.

    For more information on Hülsta and Rolf Benz, visit the newly opened showroom at the 3rd Floor of Fully Booked at Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City. For further inquries, call 273-82430.

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    British ‘Collection’ adds color to your style

    Another British Invasion hit the country on June 19, as Manila’s most stylish gathered at the Rockwell Tent in Makati City to witness the high street hues of hot pink, London bus red and the gold sheen of The Beatles that welcomed the arrival of famed cosmetic brand Collection.

    As one of the most recognized brands from the UK, Collection launched its products with a bang as it presented the season’s fanciest and quirkiest trends in make-up.

    Solenn Heussaff is chosen as one of Collection’s local faces

    Solenn Heussaff is chosen as one of Collection’s local faces

    The Rockwell Tent was transformed into a colorful London high street as British music and images that are distinctive of the UK added to the edgy atmosphere, such as the iconic red phone booth, the Grenadier Guards, and the Union Jack.

    “Anglophiles” and fashion mavens came in a multitude of colors to represent Collection’s wide range of hues. Model Nicole Anderson kicked off the event looking stunning in Collection makeup, and introduced Mario Salvatori, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Donna Dewhurst, the Regional Brand Manager of Collection.

    “This launch celebrates the beauty of the Filipinas,” announced Salvatori. “Collection is all about color, fun and fashion—and it is a British brand that doesn’t have to cost a fortune.”

    “Collection is a 25-year-old cosmetics brand in the United Kingdom. And it belongs to the Top 5 most famous brands,” added Dewhurst. “I am happy about what Collection has become throughout the years and I am even more happy that it has come to Manila.”

    After their remarks, the local faces that will represent the brand were then introduced. Inspired by the make-up, which she incorporated in her own signature ethereal fashion and elegant pastel chic, Camille Co led a display of the makeup brand’s versatility. She was followed by Techno Aztec inspired Laureen Uy, who came with a distinctly hiphop vibe. The party roared as actress Solenn Heusaff swaggered onstage in sultry rocker style. Manila’s it-girl wowed the crowd in her haute make-up.

    A hip and edgy brand, Collection celebrates individuality and encourages everyone to flaunt their personality in a variety of makeup colors. The party’s fabulous guests embodied the fun, colorful and edgy Collection makeup that the sassy UK brand represents.

    Guests present at the launch became more excited to know that the cosmetics come in surprisingly affordable prices. With Collection finally here, Filipinas can own it, work it and love it.

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