Thursday, December 8, 2011

VAN CLEEF & ARPELS' GALA AT SHOOK STARHILL

KEE@FSWMAG.COM
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The Honourable Minister of Tourism Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen in Van Cleef & Arpels and Kee Hua Chee in Keith Kee Couture

TIS THE SEASON TO BE MERRY AND FEW THINGS COME MERRIER THAN HIGH JEWELLERY FROM VAN CLEEF & ARPELS. ALAS, AT THEIR MALAYSIAN PREMIERE AT SHOOK RESTAURANT IN STARHILL ON 8DECEMBER 2011, ALMOST ALL THE BIG BLING FROM V & A HIGH JEWELLERY COLLECTION COST A MINIMUM OF RM 1 MILION EACH WITH THE STAR LOT COSTING A JAW-DROPPING RM 12 MILLION, FEATURING 3 TOP BIG DIAMONDS AND DOZENS MORE TOTALLING 35 CARATS. I ASKED FOR A PRICE LIST BUT WAS TOLD THE PRICES WOULD BE GIVEN ONLY WHEN MY STORY GOES TO PRINT. WELL, IT IS BEING PRINTED NOW AS YOU READ AND I DON'T THINK THE STAR WILL BOTHER TO PHONE VAN CLEEF & ARPELS AN HOUR BEFORE MY STORY GOES TO PRINT AS IT IS FREE AND VAN CLEEF & ARPELS IS NOT PAYING FOR AN ADVERTISEMENT COSTING RM 35,000 PER PAGE.

I AM SURE I WILL MIX UP ALL THE PRICES SO I SHALL JUST LEAVE THEM OUT AND YOU CAN GO TO PARIS AND BUY THEM.

ANYWAY, VAN CLEEF & ARPELS IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE JEWELLERS TOGETHER WITH CARTIER, MOUAWAD, MOUSAIEFF AND GRAFF.

THE COCKTAIL STARTED AT THEIR BOUTIQUE IN STARHILL AND WE MOVED DOWNSTAIRS TO SHOOK RESTAURANT WHICH IS ONE OF KL'S MOST FAVOURED EATERIES.

IT WAS FULL HOUSE AND EVERYONE INVITED WAS ABLE, HAPPY AND WILLING TO BUY VAN CLEEF & ARPELS. I WAS THERE BY DEFAULT AS I ACCOMPANIED PRINCESS DR BECKY LEOGARDO WHO WORE A RUBY SUITE WORTH MILLIONS BOUGHT IN DUBAI JEWEL FAIR AND SAPPHIRE BREQUET WATCH WITH DIAMONDS SHE PAID RM 750,000 OR SO TO THE HOUR GLASS.

FOR ONCE, THE FOOD ALMOST COMPETED FOR ATTENTION WITH THE JEWELS AS THE MENU WAS EXTENSIVE, EXCLUSIVE, EXCITING AND EXPENSIVE. AFTER ALL, THIS WAS A VAN CLEEF & ARPELS EVENT AND IF THEY ARE CLASSY AND UPSCALE, THEN NOTHING IS.

WE FEASTED ON DANCING PRAWNS AND MANGO SALAD, FRENCH DUCK LIVER PATE, DUBLIN BAY PRAWN AND SALMON RAVIOLI, ROAST SALT WATER BARRAMUNDI WITH TRUFFLE AND TOBIKO OYSTER TEMPURA AND FINISHED WITH VALRHONA CHOCOLATES WHICH ARE REPUTED TO BE THE BEST CHOCOLATES ON EARTH AND I AGREE WITH THE VERDICT. OF COURSE THEY ARE FRIGHTFULLY EXPENSIVE BUT WORTH EVERY FINGER LICKING DRIP!

THE GUEST OF HONOUR WAS DATUK SERI DR NG YEN YEN, MINISTER OF TOURISM AND SHE GRANTED ME THE GREAT HONOUR WHEN SHE WALKED TOWARDS MY TABLE TO SAY HELLO TO ME AND CHECK OUT MY BLING AND COSTUME MADE BY KEITH KEE!

AT FIRST I ASSUMED THE TOURISM MINISTER WAS GOING TO SEE SOMEONE ELSE BUT I WAS THE LUCKY ONE! AS USUAL SHE WAS CHARMING AND SMILING DESPITE HAVING FLOWN INTO KUALA LUMPUR FROM OVERSEAS. EVERYONE AT MY TABLE JUMPED TO TAKE PHOTOS WITH HER.

IN HER SPEECH, SHE THANKED JONATHAN KING, GENERAL MANAGER OF VAN CLEEF & ARPELS SOUTH EAST ASIA AND ANNOUNCED DATUK JIMMY CHOO HAD JUST RECEIVED AN AWARD FROM HONG KONG FOR BEING THE BEST CHINESE SHOE DESIGNER! DATUK SERI DR NG YEN YEN ALSO WORE DIAMOND EARRINGS FROM VAN CLEEF & ARPELS' CHEVALIER COLLECTION AND PENDANT FROM ALHAMBRA LUCKY 4-LEAF CLOVER.

SHE SPOKE ABOUT FORGING A GOLFING HOLIDAY ALLIANCE WITH TURKEY OPERATORS AND AS USUAL, SPOKE POSITIVELY ABOUT LOCAL TOURISM WHICH HAS IMPROVED TREMENDOUSLY SINCE SHE TOOK OVER. DATUK SERI DR NG YEN YEN IS THE VERY BEST TOURISM MINISTER WE EVER HAD AND I HAVE LIVED THROUGH THEM ALL!

THE MODELS MEANDERED AMONG THE TABLES TO SHOW OFF THEIR BLING WHICH INCLUDED MAIN NECKLACE, RING, WATCH AND BRACELET. EACH SET TOOK THE BREATH AWAY AND I LOVED ALL OF THEM EXCEPT THE ONE THAT MIMICKED A TIE. IT WAS A MINI VERSION OF A MEN'S TIE AND LOOKED PASSE DESPITE THE COATING OF DIAMONDS.

AS FOR THE REST, I COULD HARDLY CONTROL MYSELF AND IT WAS ALL I COULD DO TO REMAIN IN MY SEAT AND NOT TEAR OFF THE JEWELS FROM THE MODELS' NECKS AND ARMS.
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Princess Dr Becky Leogardo, Michelle, Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen and Kee Hua Chee
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Princess Dr Becky Leogardo was as usual the Best Dressed in Michael Ong , ostrich Hermes Birkin and fabulous ruby jewellery and Jonathan King, general manager of Van Cleef & Arpels for South East Asia.
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Julian Chin with mum Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, Fato Jimmy Choo and Rebecca Chin
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Standing left, Datin Angie, Christina Lip, mum Lillian Lip and Mary Chen
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Jacob Yeh, son of Tan Sri Francis Yeoh whose family own Starhill and shook etc holding his bag of a lucky draw prize from Van Cleef & Arpels and emcee Dato Yasmin Yusuff
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To my unlitigated fury and undiluted despair, Jacob Yeoh gave his expensive lucky draw prize of a Van Cleef & Arpels necklace to emcee Sato Yasmin Yusuff instead of me, despite my pleas and beseechment I would look better wearing it and Yasmin Yusuff was already getting paid for being an emcee! Life is so unfair!
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Mr Osman Morad, MD and CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia, Mrs Osman Morad, Princess Dr Becky Leogardo and Kee Hua Chee in Keith Kee Couture
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Julian Chin, son of Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen and wife Rebecca who is pregnant and not fat as I assumed since I not authority on pregnancies and I prefer poodle puppies to human babies.
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The baby is due this April and I predict it will be a boy cos girl baby is not as good as a boy and won't carry Julian Lim's name when she marries.
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Dr Sharifah Eliza Jamalullail, niece of Sultan of Selangor and Dr Tunku Muzafar Shah, nephew of Sultan of Kedah. They too are newly weds but Dr Sharifah Eliza does not look pregnant as she is still so slim!
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3 lovely bag ladies; Puan Sri Slyvia Marican with Louis Vuitton crocodile clutch, Princess Dr Becky Leogardo with Birkin lizard bag and Jenny Gallyot, general manager of Christian Dior Couture for Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia with her famous Lady Dior bag.


I think this High Collection outshines Cartier's jewels as the designs, quality and creativity were earth-shattering. Every piece seemed to outdo its predecessor and the number of squeals and squawks from the ladies almost drowned the music. I bet many husbands must have quaked as their wives' eyes lit up with happy anticipation of something hard, rock solid and shiny waiting for them in their Xmas stockings.

But why not? These are major investment pieces whose value can only increase over time and meanwhile they can be worn and enjoyed as their value escalates. You cannot do this with haute couture gowns as after 20 wearings, the wear and tear and wine stains may be too discerinible. Ditto for a Birkin as tiny scratches and stains will devalue its initial price. Jimmy Choo and Lauboutin shoes are even worse as almost no tai-tai will buy second hand shoes.

Jewels are different of course. You can buy a 200 year old necklace and wear it straightaway without a single wash or alteration.

Shafinaz the sexy songbird sang and entertained while fine wines were served nonstop. I have attended events where wine flows stopped after a certain hour! This I consider unpardonable but I have attended many Van Cleef & Arpels events and they are uniformly high class and uber hospitable so thank you, Mr Jonathan King, general manager of Van Cleef & Arpels for South East Asia and Datin Angie Menam, general manager of Van Cleef & Arpels Malaysia.

Jonathan King was the epitome of hospitality and charm as he greeted everyone warmly and seemed to be in two places at once! He has a knack of remembering faces (which I cannot claim as sometimes I don't even remember those I had one-night-stands with) and little things that happened or were said when they last met so everyone felt so honoured. He even mentioned the ring I wore when I last interviewed him so I was flattered beyond words.

For the finale, Jonathan King picked a lucky draw number and the lucky winner would receive a 10-clover necklace! Emcee Dato Yasmin Yusuff read the lucky winner's name and she almost screamed, "Omigod, I cannot believe this! What a lucky winner! He will look so good wearing this necklace too!"

Of course the winner had to be me based on Dato Yasmin Yusuff's description as which man can possibly look better than me wearing a Van Cleef & Arpels' necklace? So I stood up and ran towards the stage when Yasmin Yusuff said "Jacob Yeoh"! The eldest son and heir apparent to YTL Group and son of Tan Sri Francis Yeoh whose family own Starhill, Lot 1o, JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton et infinitum!

As we left I begged him to give the necklace to me but he firmly refused! In vain I told him he would look like a flaming faggot should he wear a necklace and bring disgrace and shame to his illustrious family but he stood his ground and held on tightly to the bag s if I would snatch it awya from him. Well i did contemplate grabbing and make a run for it but since he was holding tightly the bag I gave up and stormed off. As I left, I heard Datuk Yasmin Yusuff squealing "Oh Jacob has given his lucky draw to me and I can keep it now!"

Oh how can Jacob do this to me? Why give to Dato Yasmin instead of me when I look better wearing a Van Cleef & Arpels necklace than her? And she was getting paid good money for her emcee job so she should jolly well buy her own Van Cleef & Arpels! I sent a nasty sms to Jacob who has wisely ignored replying!

Oh well, merry xmas to you too!

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Half Canadian, half Korean Judith Lee von Nostitz whose name card has a crest so she must be aristocratic and Jennifer Chen who is not.
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Christina Lip wearing a Van Cleef & Arpels ring
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Lillian Lip and daughter Christina who is so pretty and can be a Miss Malaysia
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Lillian Lip having a closer look at Van Cleef & Arpels bling
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Teresa and Michelle admiring the big bling
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Vincent Guy Raffin the Regional Retail Manager of Christian Dior Couture, Fine Jewellery and Timepieces, Jenny Gallyot, general manager of Christian Dior Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia and Peter Cheung, regional marketing and communications director of Van Cleef & Arpels who was formerly with Christian Dior
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Cherrie Chin and Valerie Ong with turquoise RM 35,000 Hermes Birkin
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Glam rock chick and F1 racer Natasha Seatter and parents Datin Ida and Datuk Stewart Seatter
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Yap Teak Sing, Dato Jimmy Choo, Julian Chin and Serge Firsova
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Kristina Firsova
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Kristina is so sultry and sexy I am sure none will complain if I show another photo
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Cassandra Gripes is also sultry and sexy with nice cleavage
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Princess Dr Becky Leogardo and Kee Hua Chee
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Princess Dr Becky Leogardo and Kee Hua Chee
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Rani and Kulvinder Birring, MD of Watsons Malaysia
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Princess Dr Becky Leogardo, Datin Nina and friend
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Kee Hua Chee joins in