What Italia’s fashion capital Milano lacks in the ancient architecture and old masters stakes, it sure makes up for in the style department – and we don’t just mean clothes! Porta Nuova’s glammy Palazzo Parigi is just one of the city’s recent and fabulous hotel additions, and Salone del Mobile-bound jet-setters could do a lot worse than its vintage-inspired, antique art-splashed quarters when they hit the iconic furniture fair this April.
One of our staple shopportunities in Shanghai has made a trans-Atlantic voyage, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about the arrival of the exquisite Shang Xia in Paris. Born of a collaboration between quintessentially French fashion house Hermès and Chinese artistic director Jiang Qiong Er, the brand is a lesson in understated luxury, using traditional craftsmanship in a modern setting – think Ming-inspired zitan wood furny, porcelain teaware with intricate bamboo detailling, and painted crystal jewellery in tribute to Qing dynasty’s snuff boxes. Never has ‘made in China’ been more covetable!
8 rue de Sèvres, Paris. T: +33 1 4222 5362. W: shang-xia.com
In our era of eye-wateringly phosphorescent bulbs, the warming aura of the pearl bayonet is but a distant memory… but luckily not so for Stockholm shop Buster + Punch, an East London-born lighting and interiors brand whose product line features Edison-style exposed bulbs filled with intricate webs of soft-glowing golden filaments. From bronzed gunmetal chandeliers to hand-wrought walnut cocktail bars of quilted grey silk and knurled brass fittings, B+P pieces have been such a hit with the Swedes that the label’s first brick-n-mortar store debuts not in hometown London (although a local flagship is slated for 2015), but in the fash-forward Scandi style hub. Go on, Stockholm – let there be light!
Artillerigatan 29, Stockholm. T: +46 76 390 52 22. W: busterandpunch.com
Bangkok’s bar-whisperer Ashley Sutton has been as busy as a paisley nightie over the last year: first with the revamp of Thonglor favourite Iron Fairies, then the launches of literary bar The Bookshop and military-themed Bangkok Betty, but his most sophisticated offering yet is Silom’s sultry after-hours sipster, Maggie Choo’s. Taking inspiration in both name and aesthetic from a Shanghainese cabaret owner who fled to Bangkok in the 30s, this lush oriental lair boasts both a traditional noodle shop fitted with pendant parasols and antique birdcages, and a vintage casino-style bar complete with intimate nooks, qipao-clad hostesses, and leather sofas. Sutton’s go-to mix master Joseph Boroski is behind the cocktail lineup of tiger lily lovelies like the HMS Leviathan, a mix of honeycomb bourbon, sweet vermouth and lemon. Gussy up, gals!
320 Silom Rd, Bangkok. T: +66 2 635 6055. W: facebook.com/maggiechoos
Seoul is beloved for its many culinary wonders, but one restaurant has recently received a bonafide foodie barrage, and here’s why – Jung Sik Dang entered Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants this year at covetable spot #20, becoming Korea’s first restaurant to gain this acclaim. Chef Jung Sik, however, has been immaculately melding traditional flavours with mod, molecular techniques since 2009, with ample time to refine his 5-course prix fixe to the wildly creative degustation it is today. Think fried oysters with squid ink bread crumbs, smoked pork jowl on trumpet mushrooms and pickled veggies, and ‘jong dok’ chocolate mousse with red peppers. Put down the tteokbokki and go Jung!
649-7 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu. T: +82 2 517 4654. W: jungsik.kr/seoul
Ok, enough already with the never-ending winter. If you, dear hearts, are also well and truly over this bitter cold, join us on our dreamy jaunt to the totally scorching UAE desert oasis, Qasr Al Sarab. Here the stunning beauty of the stark, sand swept landscape and exotic wildlife is rivalled only by the rugged opulence contained within the fortress walls. Come on in, it’s warm inside…
Born and raised in nonpareil New Orleans, Max Levy has gone from making ripples in New York by becoming the first non-Japanese chef at the illustrious Sushi Yasuda, to causing waves in his adopted city Beijing with the recent opening of swish sushi and cocktail bar, Okra, in the buzzy 1949 complex. We sipped on a sake while the indomitable chef shared stories of adversity, adventure, and his zaydeh’s kitchen… Hai!
In a town as style- and culture-packed as Florence it’s rather ambitious to assume limited language skills and unassisted traipsing along the beaten cobbled paths will lead you to the sparkly little nuggets of Florentine life you so desperately seek. Step forward then Antiques & Boutiques, the outside-the-box tour guide company already well known for illuminating Barcelona and hometown London, and now shining its light west in its first Italian outpost.