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Luxury brand Fendi has Pokemon-themed bags and accessories for the Year of the Dragon


The Pokemon franchise has encompassed many areas in its decades-long history. Games, comics, TV shows – the list goes on. These days, it seems like the adorable critters have found a new medium to flex their charm: Luxury brand items.

Weeks after Tiffany & Co revealed their Pokemon-themed jewellery, Italian fashion house Fendi announced its collaboration with the Pokemon franchise and Fragment, a fashion label by Japanese musician Hiroshi Fujiwara.

To usher in the upcoming Year of the Dragon in 2024, the collection comprises bags and accessories sporting various dragon-type Pokemon such as Dratini and Dragonite.

Other striking pieces in the collection include Pokeball charms and earrings shaped after Dragonair. The collection is slated to be released on Jan 4, 2024.

There’s no word yet on the prices of the pieces but it’s worth mentioning that Fendi handbags in Singapore usually cost upwards of S$2,000.

‘I am not a watch freak’: Benoit Mintiens, founder of independent watch brand Ressence


Out-of-the-box thinking is often what makes for exciting, unpredictable products. And it’s something an industry like fine watchmaking, with its centuries-long history of extolling tradition, could use more of. It’s why independent brands like Ressence are such fun to behold — the thought process of its founder Benoit Mintiens wasn’t so much outside the box as it was miles away from it. Up until 2010 he had built his reputation on designing buildings, furniture, and motorcycles.

But the Belgian industrial designer saw the watch industry as fertile ground in which to further cultivate his creativity. “There are many dimensions in which you can be creative in watchmaking,” he explained. “You can think about ergonomics, materials, cost, and the whole universe behind the brand. And one of the things I’m most proud of with Ressence is that I was able to offer another vision on all those things.”


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That vision crystallised in watches that have no crowns (anymore) or traditional hands, with all indications displayed using rotating discs that lie satisfyingly flat on a single plane. His latest release, the Type 1 Round M, is a colourful variation of the Type 1 Round launched earlier in 2023 that perfectly exemplifies the brand’s focus on legibility, function, and pleasing aesthetics.

Ressence watches may look futuristic but it wasn’t a conscious decision to make them so. “If our watches look modern, it’s because we apply modern design thinking to watchmaking,” he said. For instance, to increase readability and obtain a refraction-free, screen-like display of the time, Mintiens filled the dials of the Type 3 and Type 5 watches with oil, which had never been done before in watchmaking. Despite some of his creations looking like luxurious smartwatches, Mintiens insists a mechanical heart is essential.

“As humans, we have a lot more empathy for things we can understand or relate to. One silly example is how some people give names to inanimate things,” he noted. “This is why a mechanical movement is something I have to use. It’s hard to understand what’s happening in a circuit board, but we can understand something that works with gears. Smartwatches offer a completely dry experience — your senses are not triggered.”


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Like all small outfits, trying to meet demand is Mintiens’ current and constant preoccupation. But even if he could magically conjure as many watches as he wanted, he is disdainful of forced exclusivity. “I am a watch producer, so I refuse to play these games,” he declared. “Having a waiting list of two to three years because you’re so cool and successful — I can understand it from a marketing point of view but after two years, clients are going to say they don’t need it anymore because they bought three other watches in the meantime. This is why people say, ‘You know what? I’m going to buy an independent brand now because I’m fed up with your little strategies.’”

Given his background, it’s not surprising that Mintiens respects good design before anything else. He admits to being a big fan of Marc Newson’s Ikepod watches, as well as Audemars Piguet’s original Starwheel from the 1980s. “I think Urwerk makes many nice designs and we talked about collaborating. We appreciate each other so maybe it will happen one day,” he teased. However that may end up looking, we can be sure that function will come before form. “I always think about a product’s purpose and its relationship to the user before I start to think about what it looks like,” he asserted. “I am not a watch freak — I am a product freak.”

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Best beauty buys: What Singapore's top makeup artists shop for when they travel to Tokyo, Bangkok, Seoul


For many beauty enthusiasts who love to travel, one of the most exciting parts about going on holiday is checking out the beauty counters and aisles to see what’s available.

Sure, there is no lack of beauty brands and products galore in Singapore. But there’s just something about finding cult brands or everyday favourites from the places you visit that make the heart flutter.

If you’re not confident in trying something completely new, it pays to trust those who are in the know. Some of Singapore’s trusty makeup artists share what they stock up on on their travels to some of Asia’s well-loved beauty capitals such as Tokyo, Seoul and Bangkok.

You might just find a new beauty love from the list on your next trip.


Known for: Achieving flawless and radiant complexion on clients such as Stefanie Sun, Paige Chua and Joanne Peh.

From Tokyo: Locobase Repair Cream

“This is my all-time fave cream. It’s thick and has a long staying power yet doesn’t have a sticky texture. It really softens my skin and I love using it on my dry cuticles and heels. It also helps with annoying hang nails too. I also find that it’s especially good when I’m on long haul flights and when I travel to countries with drier climates.”

From Tokyo: Kate Pinpoint Color Sniper in OR Orange

“This is a pretty new product from Kate that I found on my recent Japan trip. It might say orange, but really it’s a peachy colour, which is good for making most dark circles appear lighter. Plus, it comes in a convenient pen style, which makes it easy to use too.”

From Tokyo: &Be UV Primer

“This not only helps makeup adhere better and last longer, but it also easily gives your complexion a sun-kissed glow.”


Known for: Fresh-faced beauties. In addition to lots of beautiful brides (#shaunleebrides is a thing), Lee is also Rebecca Lim’s go-to makeup person.

From Sydney: Lanolips Tinted Lip Balm

“If you have very dry lips but still want to have some colour on them, this is perfect. It’s very moisturising for the lips and come in a variety of colours so you won’t have to choose to have just one or the other.”

From Tokyo: Kesalan Patharan Makeup Brushes

“These brushes have super, super soft natural bristles that feel so good on the skin. You’ll actually want to do your makeup daily.”

From Tokyo: IPSA Foundation Ultimate SPF25/PA++

“Don’t be fooled by its packaging. It’s actually lightweight and has a very thin, translucent texture that doesn’t compromise on its coverage and is still able to effectively conceal blemishes. Plus, it’s water- and sweat-proof, making it ideal for Singapore’s humid weather too.”


Known for: Fashion-forward beauty trends and glow-y, elegant bridal makeup.

From Bangkok: Srichand Bare To Perfect Translucent Powder

“This is a much raved about product on social media, and it does live up to its hype. It covers well and helps makeup last longer, even when faced with the heat and humidity.”

From Tokyo: IPSA Creative Concealer

“A palette that contains three Asian-friendly shades that match our Asian skin tone well. It’s also handy to use for touch-ups when you’re out and about. Best bit? You can also find this brand in Hong Kong if you’re not heading to Japan.”

From Seoul: Lilybyred Starry Eyes 9 To 9 Gel Eyeliner

“These come in a wide range of colours, from white and cream to coral, brown and black. Plus, they’re also very versatile and have a long-lasting formula. It’s great to use if you want a softer look for the eyes – try shade #13 Caramel Brown – and can even be used as an eyeshadow by blending it out before it dries down. And a beauty trick that I do is to use the shade #10 Shine Gold to create that ageyo-sal K-beauty trend (lining just under the eyes to give the illusion of bigger, doe-like eyes).”


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Will eating a lot of boozy Christmas food affect your breathalyser test results?


You’re likely to be welcomed with an eggnog when you arrive at a Christmas party. You accept it because it’s just one drink and these things are simply a concoction of egg yolks, sugar and just a smidge of brandy – practically a dessert, right? 

But wait, you haven’t factored in that slice of bourbon-soaked fruit cake, rum-laced tiramisu, Bailey-infused trifle and rum truffles yet. Yes, they are boozy but they are also small bites, you figured. Surely, not everything alcoholic adds up and affects your breathalyser test results if you get behind the wheel?

You might be right, said doctors such as National University Hospital’s Dr Lee Guan Huei, who is the head and a senior consultant with Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine. “The amount of alcohol in such alcohol-infused treats is very small and would not add much to breathalyser results or impair driving.”


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However, Dr Edward Cheong, a general surgeon specialising in gastrointestinal surgery with Panasia Surgery Group, has a different view. “Every little bit adds up. Especially if the alcohol stays in your mouth longer.”

Dr Cheong is referring to gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD that causes you to repeatedly regurgitate what you’d eaten back up your oesophagus, including the alcohol in the food and drink you’ve had. “Any food that results in gastroesophageal reflux can affect the breathalyser result,” he said.

Another consideration is whether you have eaten anything before imbibing. “On an empty stomach, the alcohol from these alcohol-infused treats will be quickly absorbed,” added Dr Cheong.

Travis Kelce says he was trying to 'keep his cool' when crowd cheered for Taylor Swift at his NFL game


Travis Kelce was “trying to keep [his] cool” when Taylor Swift was shown on the screen at his football game.

The 34-year-old NFL star has been dating Anti-Hero songstress, also 34, since July 2023 and when she turned up to support him at a recent game at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he revealed that the crowd went “absolutely insane” even though she was wearing the opposing team’s colours.

Speaking on the New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce podcast, he said: “They showed Taylor at the game, and I mean you don’t see an entire home team fan base go insane for somebody wearing the opposite team’s colours. It just shows you how amazing that girl is. They went absolutely insane when they showed Taylor on the screen. I was trying to keep my cool!”

The Kansas City Chiefs player went on to add that because his girlfriend had noted that the stadium was one of her favourites to play at with her worldwide Eras tour, it was nice to see the home fans there showing her some love as well.

He said: “I was like, ‘Don’t show your cards, don’t show your cards.’ It was fun, man. Shout out to the Patriots, New England. Taylor, she’s on record saying that that stadium is one of the funnest that she’s played at, so for them to show her is just kind of showing her some love. So shout out to the Patriots for doing that.”

Taylor – who has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2023 – was first spotted at one of Travis’ games on Sep 24 when she was seen cheering him on as the Kansas City Chiefs played the Chicago Bears at the Arrowhead Stadium.

But the Blank Space hitmaker revealed during her interview with the outlet that they had actually been dating for three months by the time she announced it.

She said: “This all started when Travis very adorably put me on blast on his podcast, which I thought was metal as hell. We started hanging out right after that. So we actually had a significant amount of time that no one knew, which I’m grateful for, because we got to get to know each other.

“By the time I went to that first game, we were a couple. I think some people think that they saw our first date at that game? We would never be psychotic enough to hard launch a first date.”


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Ryan Gosling reimagines his Barbie power ballad I'm Just Ken for Christmas, shares new EP


She’s Barbie. He’s just Ken. And now, it’s Christmas.

On Wednesday (Dec 20), Ryan Gosling – the Ken to Margot Robbie’s Barbie in the film – released the I’m Just Ken EP alongside collaborators Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt. It features the original Grammy-nominated, ‘80s-style power ballad from the movie, also titled I’m Just Ken, as well as three remixes: the stripped down I’m Just Ken (In My Feelings Acoustic), the dance floor ready I’m Just Ken (Purple Disco Machine Remix), and the festive I’m Just Ken (Merry Kristmas Barbie).

The latter was released with an official music video, where Gosling, Wyatt and Ronson are seen working on the holiday remix of the song in a studio drenched in Christmas lights with an impressive live band, bantering with one another. At one point, a goofy Gosling puts on a pair of sunglasses to get into character, telling Ronson he’s doing so because “the world can have Ken’s voice but only Barbie can have his eyes”.

The trio are joined by a full band as well by two cellists, four violinists and a glockenspiel. Gosling’s vocals are run through reverb – adding to the triumphant and whimsical reimagining. “Merry Christmas, Barbie,” he ends the song. “Wherever you are.”

In July, Ronson, who worked as the executive producer of the Barbie soundtrack and also scored it alongside Wyatt, told the Associated Press he typically only contributes music to songs for film – but in the case of I’m Just Ken, couldn’t shake a few lyrics that made the final cut, like its memorable chorus of “I’m just Ken, anywhere else I’d be a 10”.

I’m Just Ken is up for best song written for visual media at the 2024 Grammy Awards as well as and the Golden Globe for best original song.


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Yoo Jae-suk, Blackpink's Jennie to star in new Korean variety show airing in 2024


Blinks (fans of K-pop group Blackpink) who want to see Jennie back on TV screens won’t have to wait much longer. In 2024, the megastar will be one of the main cast members of Apartment 404 – a new South Korean variety show by tvN. 

Slated to air in the first half of 2024, Apartment 404 centres around six residents of an apartment building who have to solve a different mystery that’s based on true events each week. The remaining cast members are familiar faces in South Korea’s entertainment scene and include:

Yoo Jae-suk, South Korea’s top MC and cast member of Running ManCha Tae-hyun, actor-singer and former cast member of 2 Days & 1 NightLee Jung-ha, actor Oh Na-ra, actress and cast member of Sixth SenseYang Se-chan, comedian and cast member of Running Man

The main producer of Apartment 404 is Jung Chul-min who has previously worked on Running Man and Sixth Sense.

Apartment 404 will also mark the first time Yoo and Cha appear as main cast members on the same show, further adding to its anticipation.

Director Gil Kenan teases new villain for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire


Gil Kenan has confirmed that a new villain will take the spotlight in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. The 47-year-old filmmaker is helming the latest movie in the supernatural comedy franchise, slated for release in March 2024, and explained how a new antagonist will terrorise the Spengler family after Gozer was revived for Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

Kenan told Empire magazine: “Because the Spengler family story drove the narrative in Afterlife, bringing Gozer back to centre stage was a natural way to close the book on the past.

“But we are now in the post-Gozerian era of the Ghostbusters saga, so that means we’re able to stretch out and create an entirely new mythology. And that’s thrilling as a storyteller because there are all-new and terrifying stakes with fresh visual references to draw on.”

Original cast members Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson have all returned for the upcoming movie and Kenan had a moment to treasure on his first day behind the camera.

The A Boy Called Christmas director recalled: “I remember there was a moment halfway through the first morning of directing one of the big scenes where I looked at the monitor, and just caught myself with the biggest grin ever.

“Finally, it dawned on me that I was calling ‘Action!’ and ‘Cut!’ on some of my very favourite characters in movies, working on a big cinematic scale on something that I really cared about.

“I try to hold on to that feeling. I still have it now, finishing the film.”

Kenan took over from Ghostbusters: Afterlife helmer Jason Reitman, the son of the original flick’s late director Ivan Reitman, and spoke of the “absolute honour” of being tasked to make a movie in the much-loved franchise.

Kenan said: “It’s an absolute honour to pick up the proton pack and step behind the camera for the next chapter of the Spengler family saga.

“I just wish I could go back to 1984 and tell the kid in the sixth row of the Mann Valley West that one day he was going to get to direct a Ghostbusters film.”

K-pop star G-Dragon cleared of drug allegations, according to media reports


K-pop star G-Dragon has been cleared of allegations of illegal drug use by South Korean police, according to media reports.

Police had been investigating the singer and rapper, whose given name is Kwon Ji-yong, amid an ongoing crackdown on illegal drugs by the government of conservative President Yoon Suk Yeol.

On Tuesday (Dec 19), the Incheon Metropolitan Police decided not to charge the former leader of the K-pop band BIGBANG for alleged drug use after they had not obtained testimonies to support the charges against him, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Reuters could not immediately reach the police or G-Dragon for comment on Wednesday.

G-Dragon, a fashion muse and a writer of many hit songs, had strongly denied the allegations, showing up at a police station last month for questioning to prove his innocence.

In a sit-down interview with Yonhap News TV last month, the 35-year-old star again denied any illegal drug use. “I have never used drugs, received or given drugs from or to anyone,” he said, referring to negative drug test results.

A series of drug charge arrests, including of chaebol heirs and celebrities, has prompted authorities to vigorously pursue a crackdown on narcotics and increase customs inspections.

South Korea has tough drug laws, and crimes are typically punishable by at least six months in prison or up to 14 years for repeat offenders and dealers.

Italian wine twins: What you need to know about Barolo and Barbaresco


Barolo and Barbaresco, two wine regions spread across the Langhe hills in northwestern Italy’s Piedmont, make some of Italy’s finest wines, often with a stunning combination of elegance and complexity. Both regions –essentially neighbours separated by the town of Alba – can be tricky to understand, though.

Barolo and Barbaresco make wines from the same red grape variety, Nebbiolo. However, each region has its own unique geographical and geological features, resulting in wines that are (often) stylistically different from each other but still share the main characteristics of a Nebbiolo – high acidity, aroma of roses and notes of cherries. In short, Barolo and Barbaresco are two sides of the same coin.


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Located southwest of Alba, Barolo is the bigger region of the two, with almost 2,000 hectares of vineyards. The appellation consists of 11 villages: Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba, Cherasco, Diano d’Alba, Grinzane Cavour, Novello, La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Roddi, and Verduno.

Barbaresco, located northeast of Alba near the Tanaro river, is home to 677 hectares of vineyards and comprises the four villages of Barbaresco, Neive, San Rocco Seno d’Elvio, and Treiso.


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“Within Barolo, if we compare the wines from the communes of La Morra and Serralunga d’Alba, we have two different styles of Barolo. La Morra will be rounder with a richer fruit aroma, [resulting in] a Barolo that is approachable at an earlier age. Serralunga d’Alba’s is often bone-dry with cherry notes and a very textured mouthfeel,” he explained. “The former will be closer to a ‘typical’ Barbaresco while the latter is what people would call your ‘typical’ Barolo.”

“Similarly, in Barbaresco, if we take the wines of Neive and Treiso, we will get two different wine styles: Neive gives a fleshier, more luscious wine, whereas Treiso gives a wine that is leaner with angular acidity; a ‘harder’ Barbaresco,” he added.

The idea that Barolo should be strictly made as a wine that is tannic and intense is also an outdated concept these days. In the 1980s, the region saw the emergence of the Barolo Wars, a battle of winemaking ideologies between two factions the media coined as the traditionalists and the modernists. The former were steadfast in their old ways: Higher yields, long maceration, and extended ageing in large oak casks. The latter opted for lower yields, shorter fermentation, and shorter ageing in small French oak barriques, which introduced vanilla notes that tamed the tannins and made the wine more drinkable at a younger age.

Today, the Barolo Wars are dead as disco; a truce has been reached. Zachary Tay, head sommelier of wine bar La Terre, said he has noticed the distinction between the traditionalists and the modernists blurring in recent years. After the Barolo Wars petered out, both camps, he added, acknowledged each other’s strengths and began integrating them into their winemaking methods.

Currently managed by fifth-generation owner Federica Boffa, the renowned Pio Cesare winery owns about 70 hectares of vineyards across Piedmont. This flagship Barolo is made from Nebbiolo sourced from Serralunga d’Alba, Grinzane Cavour, La Morra, Novello, and their recently acquired vineyard in Monforte. Ageing is done in large French oak barrels for 30 months, with a small amount in barriques. The wine offers excellent structure, freshness, notes of cherries, and soft tannins.

S$110, from Grand Vin


The Cordero di Montezemolo estate sources its grapes from only organic-certified vineyards on the hills around Alba. Made from grapes from vineyards in La Morra, the Monfalletto is the winery’s signature Barolo. Cordero di Montezemolo calls it a Barolo “that can be enjoyed from an early age”. The wine is aged in various types of French and Slovenian wood for a period of 18 to 24 months. Expect notes of cherries or raspberries intertwined with spices and floral notes.

S$146, from ewineasia


One of the small but renowned producers of Barbaresco, the Cigliuti family has been running the eponymous winery for four generations. With fruit sourced from Bricco di Neive, the Vie Erte is powerful, savoury and rather tannic, and, if served blind, could be easily mistaken for a Burgundy from Gevrey-Chambertin. Its soya and balsamic notes lend a gentle umami character to the wine.

S$93, from Luigi’s Wines


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