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Bensimon introduces perfectly imperfect French footwear
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Thirty years ago, brothers Serge and Yves Bensimon created a classic sneaker design that combined effortless Parisian style with a laid back, rugged, imperfect look and feel.
Parisians prefer brands with a long heritage, or with artisan and handmade elements over more generic factory-produced garments.
This affects the way they shop, creating a landscape of true Parisian fashion.
Now Bensimon sneakers, with its roots built in the European market, cover a range of styles, colors, and prints for men, women and children.

Bensimon

“We aim to challenge the perception of Filipinos about sneakers from a footwear category that is identified with grunge and roughness to one that is sophisticated and stylish,” said Ammiel De Leon, Bensimon Philippines’ Brand Director. “The Bensimon lifestyle highlights the perfect imperfections of Paris,” he adds.

Bensimon
Anne Gonzalez and Ammiel de Leon

Responsible for bringing Bensimon to Manila is Terry S. A. (TSA), a renowned company that distributes Havaianas, David and Goliath, Dupe, and Pininho in Manila.
As Anne Gonzalez, President of Terry S.A., puts it, their company “is constantly on the look out for brands that have a unique point of view, are optimistic, fun, and work well with the Filipino lifestyle.”
With its solid French heritage, chic and casual ease, along with its expansive product offering, Bensimon fits right into the portfolio of brands that Terry S.A. is building.

Bensimon
Bensimon
Olivia D’Aboville and her and mother Ara

Ten years ago, Terry S.A. introduced Havaianas to the Philippines, changed the Filipinos’ approach to dressing. It also prompted an entire category of casual footwear in the market.
Although Bensimon sneakers are of a different style altogether, Terry S.A. is confident of its place in the Philippine market.
“We know this category well and believe that Bensimon sneakers will find a place in many shoe closets in the country,” Anne Gonzalez shares.

Bensimon
TJ Trinidad

Bensimon
Mia Borromeo
Bensimon
Olivia D’Aboville
Bensimon
Nicole Hernandez

Look for Bensimon sneakers at Center of Gravity stores (at Forbes Town, Burgos Circle and Centris Walk), Shoe Salon (Glorietta 3, Rockwell, Robinson’s Ermita, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Trinoma), and Shoe Thing (kids styles only, at Bonifacio High Street, Eastwood Mall, and Greenbelt 5).
Prices range from Php 2,095 to Php 2,565 for men’s and women’s lines and Php 1,295 to Php 1,795 for the children’s line.

Bensimon

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Hong Kong over the weekend
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Can you believe it’s only my second time to travel this year?
Last time was Singapore for Valentine’s Day. And then Asiana Airlines crashed, and I lost my desire to travel.
But after my lipo I was needing some new clothes, so I asked my husband to take me to Hong Kong.
The flight going there was pretty OK, but I was scared as a cat. I was really paranoid and curled up into a ball praying the Rosary.
Towards the end of the flight I relaxed a little and sat in front of the hubby.

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Can you see my Candy Crush? It really helps pass time.
We stayed at the Park Lane Hotel due to its proximity to my favorite I.T store, Frabpois, Cabane Zucca (read: chic Japanese clothes for middle-aged women like me)

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Aesop is just around the corner

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I love the free sampling at the entrance

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At Wellcome I can get my favorite Kowloon Dairy bottled milk

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Across the street is Tonkichi

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There is a huge Muji not so far away

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And right underneath the hotel is Ikea

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and a Homeless store

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But Park Lane is really a borderline hotel for me because despite its great location:
1) The wifi is free for only two gadgets
2) The TV remote doesn’t work and I need my CNN
3) My pillows smelled like old man’s saliva
4) and the server on the Club floor refused to give me a glass of water because it wasn’t in our package. (what’s a freaking glass of water for a parched throat??)

Park Lane Hotel

The price was right. But next time we will stay in a better place and spend a little more.
Hong Kong was sweltering hot. I had to shower two to three times a day that I nearly ran out of clothes and bras.

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Luckily I caught the tail end of the sale season.
The sad thing is, I felt really old. The clothes I want to wear are hard to come by, for my age and body issues, so for the first time Jeroen and I traveled without fear of overweight luggage.

Jeroen and I in Hong Kong

My only real fear towards the end was coming home to a typhoon which was in between Manila and Hong Kong.
On the night before our flight I prayed many rosaries and tweeted incessantly to ask about the weather at home.
As expected I developed the runs at the Hong Kong airport in anticipation of a turbulent flight.
But as soon as I settled into my seat, I spotted Ben Chan and Miguel Pastor on board plus Mons Tantoco and friends, followed by Richard Gomez, so I quickly asked, “Where’s Lucy?”
Lo and behold, Lucy was on board too, looking like a vision in COS.

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Seeing Lucy made me less scared because I think Lucy is an angel and we can’t crash.
I settled into my seat and prayed many chaplets. The flight started out really smoothly but got shaky towards the middle. I prayed for mercy. Then it settled down.
I finished reading my printout of the Napoles exposé which is so juicy!!
And before I knew it, I could see the comforting Manila lights and we landed safely.

When we got out I was surprised to see Manila raining cats, dogs and the kitchen sink—considering the flight was not so bad! Cathay Pacific really rocks.
Earlier today, Cathay Pacific posted this notice on their website:

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So glad I missed that and made it home, I can’t tell you. God is good!

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Don’t judge a shopper by its cover
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Remember this scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts tries to shop at Rodeo Drive and gets treated like crap?

I guess most of us have experienced something like this at some point in our lives.
When I was a teenager back in the ’80s, I tried to buy eyeshadow in a San Francisco store and asked to look at it.
Then the sales assistant says, “But sweetie, that’s $40. Do you have $40?”
“Yes I do!” I said. (In fact, I had more.)
Wit that, I was able to buy it.
Many times I dress like a homeless person. I’ve been treated like crap at Hermés in Hong Kong, but I get what I want for the most part.

But one of my chicest friends (a Filipino) was in Italy many years ago to meet with a client who happened to be Dolce & Gabbana. During her free time she passed by a Prada store and asked to see a white bag that was on display.
“No,” said the sales assistant.
“Why not?” my friend asked.
Just no.
My friend guessed it was because the bag was white??? Even though my friend was wearing gloves at that time, they refused her the bag. She walked away very offended.

Another time my cousin Jenny went to Hermés in Paris with the intention of buying a Birkin.
The sales assistant told her they had none. So she stepped outside, and asked her European husband to try.
Jenny’s husband entered and was able to purchase a Birkin for Jenny without any problem. The bags were hidden in the back!
The thing is, Jenny and her husband had to communicate by cellphone while Jenny waited outside, because they wouldn’t sell it to her!

This day and age, there are still many places, especially in Europe, that aren’t eager to sell luxury goods to Asians.
Not even to Oprah Winfrey.
In 2005, Oprah was refused entry at Hermés Paris, even while some shoppers were still inside.
And now a more recent incident in Zurich, where a sales person gave her the Pretty Woman treatment at Trois Pommes.

Troi Pommes store

Here’s how Oprah described the incident on Entertainment Tonight:

“I was in Zurich the other day, in a store whose name I will not mention. I didn’t have my eyelashes on, but I was in full Oprah Winfrey gear. I had my little Donna Karan skirt and my little sandals. But obviously The Oprah Winfrey Show is not shown in Zurich. I go into a store and I say to the woman, ‘Excuse me, could I see the bag right above your head?’ and she says to me, ‘No. It’s too expensive.”
The saleswoman went on to suggest she look at cheaper bags. ‘I left the store but it proves that racism is still an issue.”

I follow Oprah on Instagram where she posts pictures of herself without makeup on.
When not on TV, Oprah has no problem going out like this.

Oprah off duty

The bag she was interested in was a Tom Ford bag named after Jennifer Aniston—except the one in Zurich was in crocodile and costs about $38,000.

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer clearly loves the bag

Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston Jennifer Aniston

Personally I don’t care for anything Tom Ford. But if I were him, I would send Oprah the crocodile bag with a nice note. (Tigilan na kasi ang crocodile bag!) Cause I love Oprah and I believe in her.

Tom Ford

To think the store’s spokesperson had the gall to defend its salesperson against Oprah!

“This is an absolute misunderstanding,” Trudie Goetz, head of the Swiss luxury chain Trois Pommes, told Us Weekly in a statement. “Any sales person would love to sell a crocodile bag. She simply explained [to Oprah] that the bag she wanted to look at was beautiful but in a very high price range and suggested lower priced models in leather, ostrich and so forth.”
Goetz adds, “It was a misunderstanding. The staff member who welcomed Oprah is one of the hardest working and regularly deals with VIP clients. There was no discrimination.”

Well, I honestly doubt it.
When I owned a store I told my sales persons to be kind to everyone who walks through the door because some of the richest people dress like slobs. Not everyone wants to dress like a fashion statement every single day.
Bottom line: Be kind, for the person you are rude to may be your best customer.
Have you ever experienced rudeness at a store? Tell us in the comments section.

UPDATE: Oprah says sorry the whole thing blew up.

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Good news!! NAIA has renovated the dreaded toilet
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A bit of good news, and I can’t believe it happened in my lifetime.
That dreaded toilet near the airline lounges at NAIA 1 has finally been renovated!!
This used to be the toilet signs. Note the draped skirt on the female figure (read: not Yohji Yamamoto)

NAIA

Imagine my surprise when I saw that they changed the signs!! My heart was racing!!
They seem to have switched the location of the male and female washrooms. The female symbol is now wearing a more normal dress

NAIA renovations

This used to be the icky green sink that looks like it goes back to the ’70s

NAIA
NAIA

OMG. Look at it now!!!

NAIA renovations

I can’t believe this is NAIA!!

NAIA renovations

There’s like freaking paper towels and hand sanitizer!!!

NAIA renovations

This used to be the dreaded toilet—can you smell that?

NAIA toilet

Now this is what you get—I must say, wrong choice of floor tile, where all watermarks can be seen

NAIA renovations

But hey, there’s toilet paper!!

NAIA renovations

and where this door used to look like the gates of hell

NAIA toilet

now there’s a safe place to hang your bag!

NAIA renovations

and a place to put your phone!!

NAIA renovations

So thanks to whoever did this! One kind advice though: please provide employment to more Filipinos. Perhaps a cleaning lady can be stationed at the restrooms to keep them spotless?
This is life-changing! I no longer dread using the loo at NAIA.
Now can somebody please fix the food selections? Thank you!

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