A Mus­ing

Annabelle Fernandez un­cov­ers the food and fashion tribes of Sin­ga­pore

Harper's Bazaar (Singapore) - - CONTENTS - ANNABELLE FERNANDEZ Sub Edi­tor

If the French philoso­pher Roland Barthes were still alive to­day, he’d have a field day up­dat­ing his sem­i­nal text from 1967, The Fashion Sys­tem, which ex­am­ined how cloth­ing is a lan­guage through which peo­ple trans­mit their ide­olo­gies. In 2017, peo­ple show their al­le­giance to par­tic­u­lar tribes through the vast vo­cab­u­lary at their dis­posal—there’s also the fit­ness fad you’re into (barre ver­sus HIIT?), the direc­tor whose vis­ual aes­thetic is most sim­i­lar to yours (Sofia Cop­pola ver­sus Baz Lurhmann?) and, as ex­pected in a food-ob­sessed na­tion like Sin­ga­pore, the places you eat at. One look at a Sin­ga­porean’s In­sta­gram feed and you can come to a pretty ac­cu­rate con­clu­sion of who they are. Be­low, a tast­ing plat­ter of some of Sin­ga­pore’s food and fashion tribes:


The food: Sin­ga­pore’s deep in the throngs of the third wave cof­fee move­ment, but for this dis­cern­ing crowd, it takes more than a state-ofthe-art La Mar­zocco ma­chine to im­press them.The beans should be sin­gle-ori­gin (or at the very least, an in-house blend); brew­ing options should in­clude Aero­press, Che­mex, V60 or syphon tech­niques; and, most im­por­tantly, there should be no menu be­yond the words “black” or “white”.

The fashion: The mono­chrome out­look ex­tends to their out­fits: They wor­ship at the al­tar of con­cep­tual Ja­panese de­sign­ers Rei Kawakubo and Yo­hji Ya­mamoto—min­i­mal­ist at­tire per­fect for med­i­tat­ing over a cuppa at Omote­sando Kof­fee, Ny­lon Cof­fee Roast­ers and Jewel Cof­fee.


The food: Be­fore any me­dia out­let has so much as penned a word about the lat­est restau­rant-slash-bar to open in the Keong Saik-Dux­ton-Amoy neigh­bour­hoods, this tribe has al­ready made its way through the menu of (what else?) small plates and cock­tails. Neon signs of ironic phrases, trop­i­cal ac­cents, de­cid­edly mis­matched ceramic serv­ing ware (all hand­made, of course), bev­er­ages gen­er­ously gar­nished with botan­i­cals... with this crew, you eat with your eyes first.

The fashion: There is no miss­ing the scenesters’ eclec­tic choice of at­tire. Af­ter all, their modus operandi is to see and be seen. Gucci’s Alessan­dro Michele and Saint Laurent’s Anthony-Vac­carello will help them do just that, via se­quins, leather, flo­rals and prints ga­lore.


The food: Be it bread baked in wood-fired ovens built brick-by-brick on-site at Fire­bake or co­conuts that take nine hours to clean and juice by hand be­fore be­ing used to make the nasi lemak at Co­conut Club, this tribe swears by craft and artistry. No need for pomp and pageantry— just good food that goes back to ba­sics; where the in­gre­di­ents, not serv­ing tech­niques, shine.

The Fashion: No need for lo­gos here—just clothes and ac­ces­sories made us­ing lux­u­ri­ous fab­rics and ar­ti­sanal tech­niques that only those also in the know will ap­pre­ci­ate. On this front, Nadège Van­hee-Cy­bul­ski’s work for Her­mès and To­mas Maier at Bot­te­gaVeneta have them cov­ered.


The food: If there is #egg­porn, foam or smoke in­volved, you can count on mem­bers of this tribe be­ing there. Trekking to re­mote parts of the is­land is not a con­cern, be­ing one of the first to up­load Boomerangs of the lat­est food fad is. Whether it’s Non-En­trée Dessert’s lava cakes sit­ting atop a bed of gelato or Chock Full of Beans’ Snor­lax latte art, the­atrics rank high on their list.

The fashion: Nat­u­rally, they are fans of brands that know how to make a state­ment. See: The boots that ap­peared on the fall/win­ter run­ways of Ba­len­ci­aga (as stock­ing-boots) and Fenty Puma by Ri­hanna (as thigh-highs). Per­fect for that #OOTD shot in front of the lat­est restau­rant mu­ral spot­ted all over In­sta­gram. Send me your com­ments on In­sta­gram: @neon­wa­ter­melon

From top: Ding Dong’s neon-lit sign. Gucci fall/win­ter 2017. Pourover cof­fee at Ny­lon Cof­fee Roast­ers. Her­mès fall/win­ter 2017. Co­conut Club’s sig­na­ture dish. Yo­hji Ya­mamoto fall/win­ter 2017. Ba­len­ci­aga fall/ win­ter 2017. Non-En­tree Dessert’s Choco­late Avalanche

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