Not for the faint-hearted: Vetements now at Univers
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It’s been a while since I’ve felt really excited about a clothing brand.
I can compare the feeling of European brand Vetements (pronounced “vet-mohn”) to the first time I encountered Martin Margiela in New York in 1993.
The similarities are there—from the exaggerated sleeves to the gigantic proportions.
And no wonder, since Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia did work at Margiela for more than three years.

Demna Gvasalia photographed by Dominique Maitre

But before he started Vetements with a team that includes his brother Guram, Demna also designed clothes at Louis Vuitton.
Most recently he took over Alexander Wang as artistic director of Balenciaga, making the brand once more exciting after a few blah years of Wang.

Now for the good news: Vetements is here, thanks to Mark “Jappy” Gonzalez of H&F Retail Concepts Inc., which owns Univers at One Rockwell.
The store carries a compact collection of unisex streetwear that includes Vetements’ collaboration with Levi’s (the first time the company has allowed double branding, said Jappy), oversized bomber jackets, sweatshirts, and T-shirts.

Vetements 2016

Vetements 2016
Vetements 2016

The price points are not for the faint-hearted, in fact the Snoop Dog T-shirt costs more than a Louis Vuitton wallet.
I tried on a sweatshirt with extra long sleeves and a gigantic bomber jacket that is ten sizes bigger than me. I loved it. It would look great in Tokyo, but my boys would refuse to walk with me, and it’s not my price point.
I had to take a moment, sit down, and check prices online. Jappy’s prices are not bad, maybe slightly higher.
But in Manila, you can try pieces on and don’t have to pay Johnny Air for shipping.
I would rather buy here to support a Filipino entrepreneur who’s trying to make a difference.

For Spring/Summer 2017, Univers is bringing in the men’s line and more styles, including Vetements’ collaborations with Hanes, Brioni, Reebok and Champion.
“The prices will be different, lower for some of the items,” said Jappy.

Obviously, Vetements is not for everybody.
As Jappy put it, “It really is an attitude. You either have it or you don’t. Not everybody gets it.”

Univers is located at One Rockwell East Tower, Rockwell Drive.
Follow them on Instagram @_univers_.

Before you take another food shot, consider this
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“What kind of Instagram accounts do you hate?” my kids were asking the other night.
“I don’t really like fashion posts,” I said. “I don’t like too many selfies.”
“I don’t like food posts,” said my son. “Why do people have to take pictures of food?”

I laughed. To be fair, I think I am one of the first people to take food pics, as early as 2004 with my low-res digital camera. I was in Singapore for a junket for the Philippine Star and I simply thought this dish was too pretty not to be captured. This was Chatterbox’s famous Hainanese chicken rice.

Chatterbox chicken rice

I still remember marveling at this dessert sampler at Mezza9, Singapore in 2005, when taking food shots was a novel thing. Flickr was a new thing, so early adopters would post them online and label them “food porn.”

dessert sampler

My brother Dennis used to groan whenever I would pull out my huge camera before a family meal.
And now it’s like a normal thing. I try not to do it often, and if I do, I do it really quickly. It must be done within a few seconds so I don’t like a fool.
That said, this video is worth sharing, I can’t wait to show my kids. I especially love the tag line in the end.
Watch and see how silly it all looks.

I survived July 2016
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Sorry for the lack of updates. I was in pain for a month and was living off painkillers, prayers, and the patience of friends. I just wanted to let you know I’m still here.
I was not prepared for the month of pain.
It started with a strenuous workout in the gym, followed by a suspected UTI, doctors, ultrasound, PAP smear, colonoscopy, online bullying, stolen cellphone, hacked credit card—all in July 2016.
But I survived it.

Out of everything that was dealt to me, the worst thing really was the physical pain because it lasted for one month, I thought I was dying.
The pain would start every time I sat up to eat, from my lower back to my tail, it would radiate to my right thigh, buttocks and calves. The pain was so bad I would end up in bed, cancel appointments, meetings, and move deadlines.
I tried Flanax, Ponstan, Alaxan, Salonpas, massages, sleeping, and in the end it was only Advil, prayer, and time that worked for me.

I was losing hope. All I could think about was Prince, who suffered from chronic pain after jumping constantly in heels.

Prince pain

I thought about my cousin Lance Raymundo, who survived a deadly gym accident in 2014. I thought about my friend Penny who was bedridden for a month before she died in 2015.
Cause that’s all I could think about when I was in pain. I thought about other people in pain and I prayed.

On the last week of July my friends were telling me to hang on because it’s nearly August.
True enough, yesterday was my second day without pain. I went to bed early. I was tired, sleepy, but had no pain.
I also have an abnormal craving for Haagen-Dazs coffee ice cream, but there is none currently in Manila. (Please tell me if you find a tub in the supermarket.)

Funny, I bought this metal sign in Tokyo last Christmas and forgot about it until now. I should have hung it up somewhere. For when I really thought the pain would never go away and I would be living a life like Prince, it’s finally gone. I hope for good.

Pain sign

That said, I’m back. Sorry if I have missed some deadlines or not taken your calls. I’ve been in pain and feeling very tired. Thanks to all my friends and family who have been patient with me through this time and who prayed for me. I am grateful.

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