Category Archives: Luxe

Inspiring Enterprise

Fashion with a conscience

The Tamil word for thread is `nul’ நூல் and both Evlyn and Anne have made South Asia (India and Sri Lanka) their initial hunting grounds for all things crafty and artisanal.

Their new enterprise is aptly called `Southern Nools’ (threads from the south) and the long-term plan is to sustain the business by making it a social enterprise which is aimed at empowering women.

For a start, the siblings are offering quirky and fun items like yoga bags, healthy copper mugs, book covers, meditation cushions, cheerful mandala-inspired totes and a host of other colourful and quality merchandise.

Their debut at the Straits Quay weekend market last week served as a good test-bed to gauge consumer trends and interest and they will be back there on Saturday and Sunday (March 24-25, 2018) with more offerings.

The girls share their story below, and the photos weave more colours and tales:

“At Southern Nools we draw our inspirations from the elements of Mother Earth and the four beautiful seasons of the year to bring you and the rest of the world our eclectic array of designs,” they say.

‘Nools’ or ‘Nul’ means thread in most parts of Southern India and Sri Lanka. The thread is the central point in retaining the fabrics outlook, appearance and lifespan although it only represents less than 1% of the entire outfit., they share.

“While the fabric captures the essence of bringing alive its tapestry of colours, the thread remains the spindle that spools it together. “

Handloom weaving is a heritage handed down from generations. Masterpieces are created from the blessed and creative hands of skilled weavers. These hands represent the simple and humble artisans who brings alive the fabric that adorns its wearer. Southern Nools celebrates all designers through the richness and diversity of traditional and classic fabrics.

“We take pride in weaving together the magic of Mystical India and the Wonder of Sri Lanka through the windows of exotic exuberance set in the splendour and grandiose British era.

“Our passage of timeless collections is designed with fine attention to detail. At Southern Nools we believe in quality, uniqueness, comfort and sophistication with a flair. Our clothiers and collections carry the proud trademark of stitcheries and the spontaneous placement of colours and designs inspired by the eccentric brilliance of Mother Earth.

“Our philosophy is rooted in integrity, simplicity and contemporary elegance handcrafted with a conscience.”

The Southern Nools story goes beyond threads and spools.

“At the heart of Southern Nools is the mission to empower and create unlimited potential with life skills, entrepreneurial growth and leadership for the marginalised and the differently abled in society. We hope to not only empower our local community in Malaysia and beyond, but also to enrich their lives with dignified earnings and a life changing future.

“At Southern Nools we strongly support and promote Fair Trade as a path towards a sustainable economic development for these communities and their families.”

At Southern Nools “There Is A Season For Everything” and “There Is Something For Every Season”.

“Southern Nools is about making a difference in people’s lives. Each smile, each little thing, each blessing, each gratitude is an affirmation of our purpose and mission,” is the promise of Evlyn and Anne.

Watch this space …..

#southernools #thereisaseasonforverything #pb2j #blessingsinlife #fairtrade #empowerment #threadsandspools #india #srilanka #socialenterprise


Let’s go luxe

Luxe shoppers take note!

Michelle the magical queen of happening events, is uplifting Penang’s retail scene by a notch this coming weekend.

The Luxury Shopping Showcase event takes place on 9 Feb (Friday) from 3pm-7pm and 10 Feb (Saturday) from 10am-5pm at

Suite 010, Heritage Wing at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel on Farquhar Street in George Town.

After her successful debut in presenting global label Cocoon by Randi Kristoffersen to us last year, Michelle is now bringing it back to Penang shoppers.

This designed and made-in-Malaysia export, is one of the world’s premier nightwear brands – think silk, satin, silk-velvet and the finest cashmere (www.cocoonbyrandikristoffersen)

Discerning shoppers are also in for a treat with the launching of a new collection from luxury linen brand, The Sinclair Company by Anne Sinclair.

The collection is said to include easy-to-wear dresses and separates in lightweight European linen and available in limited quantities in sizes ranging from 4 to 14.

“No appointment necessary, admission is free and credit cards are accepted,” says Michelle.

“Call us on +60164570221 if you can’t find us! We’re in the old wing, ground floor of the E&O Hotel.”

(Images courtesy of Michelle Grimsley)

Ode to the Penang Lang (people) and their love for food

It’s that time of the year when food and presents figure in our personal and corporate space, all in the name of Christmas.

Sculptural jeweller Jonathan Yun has come up with some real novel ideas to gift oneself or loved ones.

Charmingly called the ‘makan2’ series, necklaces, bracelets and stackable rings have been carved out of sterling silver into exquisite items which pay homage to the Peranakan (Straits Chinese) culture.

“The makan2 series is an extension of my miniature series dedicated to all things Peranakan,” Jonathan says.

“As you know the Penang Nyonya take their food very seriously so its an ode to the delicious food as well as a playful take on the beautiful culture of the Peranakans.”

How much more playful can one get by stacking chopsticks with a plate and spoon and carrying them off with class and style?

Prices start from RM209 and go up to RM1,299 for these quirky pieces.

Pop into Jonathan’s shop at 150 Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, 10200 Penang and be blown away by his other pieces while you are there.

(Images courtesy of Jonathan Yun)

Penang Goes Luxe

A rare sino-Islamic porcelain blue and white brush pot with Arabic inscriptions is one of many rare items being showcased in Penang this weekend during an exhibition of luxury collectibles.

The late 19th century Qing Dynasty artefact, measuring 13cm x 13cm and carrying a tag of between RM5,800 and RM 7,800, will nestle alongside an exquisite 1950s/1960s handpainted figurine of a laughing Buddha with children perched on his shoulder and arms.

The “Famille Rose Porcelain Buddha” which stands at a height of 30.5cm, is priced between RM10,500 and RM15,000.

These fine items will be joined by other antiques, fine art, luxury watches, automobiles and jewellery during the RHB Premier International Luxury Collections Week from Oct 27-29 at Gurney Paragon Mall.

(Images courtesy of CHT Network)

Helloooooo Kuching!

The man who placed George Town on the world festival map is now taking his crazy brand of style and fun to Borneo.

Joe Sidek, the director of the George Town Festival wants Kuching to rock on the fringes of the internationally-acclaimed Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) in July.

He is curating and presenting the Rainforest Fringe Festival (RFF) and promises it to be a 10-day (7-16 July) spectacle of the best which Sarawak has to offer by way of art, food, fashion and music. 

“The festival happens right in the bustling capital town of Kuching in Sarawak and will provide the ultimate lead up to the annual Rainforest World Music Festival. 

“The inaugural Rainforest Fringe Festival will also give prominence to Sarawak’s rich indigenous arts and culture, giving festival goers a true sense of the beauty and energy of the state, its people and rainforest,” says Joe.

Festival-goers will rediscover Sarawak through film screenings, fashion showcases, photography exhibitions, art and craft bazaars and other displays of Sarawak’s highly underrated trove of local talents.

The Old Court House in Kuching will serve as the venue for most events – such as a craft and vintage market, talks, exhibitions and various movie screenings – tied to the fringe festival.
The “Sarawak: Theatre of Clothes” fashion gala will showcase exceptional and multi-talented fashion and accessories’ designers originating from Sarawak.

In upholding their Sarawakian roots, these designers such as Datuk Tom Abang Saudi, Eric Ong, Ramsay Ong, Tanoti and Neng Kho Razali have made their mark on local and international high fashion runaways and will bring to the festival, their show-stopping works.

A special fashion treat awaiting those coming to the fringe festival would be Singapore-based contemporary womenswear label Ong Shunmugam. The label owner is Malaysian-born Priscilla Shunmugam, whose work is designed and made across Asia and offers ready-to-wear ranges and bespoke designs. She is working with `Pua Kumbu’ the traditional patterned multi-coloured ceremonial cloth used by the Ibans and in Sarawak for the fringe festival.

“Music is the way nature speaks to us. It is found in the splash of a waterfall, the rumble of the wind and the flutter of a bird’s wings …These are our music; it means Sada Kamek in the Iban language.”

The Rainforest Fringe Festival will open with an official concert `Sada Kamek’ at the Kuching Amphitheatre, with a line-up of Sarawak-born performers like Dayang Nurfaizah, Noh Salleh, Tony Eusoff, Nading Rhapsody, At Adau, Pete Kallang, Alena Murang and Matthew Ngau.

(Images courtesy of Joe Sidek and the Rainforest Fringe Festival)

M is for Massage and (Jo) Malone

It’s one of those treats which money cannot buy. And this is simply because the quintessentially British Jo Malone London does not charge you for their oh-so-blissfully relaxing (20 minute) hand and arm massages (yes, it’s free BUT by invitation only).

Betsy and I ambled over to the brand’s first boutique in Penang this evening, The generous invite on thick and creamy paper said to bring along a friend  (Betsy) and we were welcomed by the gracious Lillian and equally warm and familiar Carmen.  Lime infused water and a black velvet Jo Malone complimentary pouch were offered (to store our respective watches and other jewellery items) before we submitted ourselves to a relaxing and scented journey.

Lillian used a latte whisk to form a warm frothy hand wash in a fragrance of our choice (mine being grapefruit, although my first introduction to the brand by Bina years ago, has had me hooked on their signature Lime Basil & Mandarin).  She wiped it off gently with a warm towel, leaving the skin feeling softer and noticeably lighter.

Lillian’s firm yet soft hands are the perfect ad for the body products and the incredible layers of scents  combined, and so telling of the brand which is synonymous with a bespoke style of service.

We were waved off in a shower of multiple sprays, and continued to feel cocooned in the warmth of this British fragrance for the ensuing hours spent as mall rats.

Sleek, silky and luxe

The client list for this brand of glamorous nightwear suggests that they are fit for kings and who’s-who of the rich and famous.

Cocoon by Randi Kristoffersen is one of the world’s premier nightwear brands – think silk, satin, silk-velvet and the finest cashmere (see http://www.cocoonbyrandikristoffersen)

Not known to many is that this super luxe brand is designed and made in Malaysia for the world.

Personalised silk-lined cashmere dressing gowns and pajamas are among the orders placed by members of royalty globally, heads of state and also Hollywood stars and entertainers through the years, ranging from Oprah Winfrey, Melanie Griffith, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Liam Neeson, Tina Turner, Barbara Streisand and Sir Elton John.

The sleek and silky nightware is retailed in upscale outlets globally like Harrods in London, Bergdorf Goodman (New York), Neiman Marcus (Beverly Hills) and Eden Gray in Cannes.

A trunk show this Saturday at 11, Jalan Clove Hall in George Town, will feature this premier nightwear brand, making it available for sale in Malaysia for the first time.

The collection is said to include silk nightgowns, pyjamas and silk velvet dressing gowns for ladies and gents as well as blouses, shawls and travel accessories – all at specially discounted wholesale prices.

If you are in search of the perfect present for the person who has (almost!) everything, the trunk show, held in the gracious heritage Clove Hall Residence from 10am-4pm, may be just the place to pop in tomorrow (Dec 10, 2016).

Credit cards are welcome and those in need of directions may call +60164570221.
Photos courtesy of Cocoon by Randi Kristoffersen and Michelle Grimsley