Aspirations / Inspirations / Innovations
Where do you know Emma Cook from? The Brit designer worked at Donna Karan and Martine Sitbon before starting her own label in 2002.
THE 3 DS OF WAREHOUSE REINVENTED:
Distinct Brit POV, design, details.
Hey, wait a minute. Are you thinking what we’re thinking? Warehouse has a new look? Yup, new in every way, from its sensibility and packaging to store design. Not all of us may be aware of it right now because most of it is not here – yet. The fullscale reboot only kicked off in the UK in August with its F/W ’16 collection.
So what’s here? The merchandise that reflects its new ethos. The UK high-street label’s first design director, Emma Cook, gives an exclusive on why we should be as excited about the revamp as she is.
It’s fashion with a distinct British eclectic style (aka cool)
When Cook was tasked to bring back Warehouse’s glory days (it was ahead of its time for being the first high-street retailer to bring catwalk-level designer products to the masses), she looked at what was on the high street, and what was missing. And it was the Swedes, specifically Cos and & Other Stories, that got her thinking about why there wasn’t a British version of them.
“We want Warehouse to be a great British brand, and we spoke a lot about tapping into British women’s sense of style,” says Cook.
So what is Brit style? “When you get a group of fashion editors or designers in another city, you can spot the British ones by the way they dress. It’s someone who might buy a camisole top from Portobello Market and pair it with African-print trousers – and they don’t really ‘go’, but they do. British girls don’t really care whether their bum looks fat in it; they just care if it looks cool.
“We are a British brand that celebrates British style, loves colour and print, and I think this is something which resonates with and is embraced by customers outside of the UK.”
“The high street should be inclusive, and I want to create products that are ‘easy’ but relevant, new and exciting, and will elevate every woman’s wardrobe.”
It’s fashion that’s design-, not trend-led
“Trend-led just means that everyone else in the market will be offering a similar product, and it will have gone off by Christmas. Design-led means you can still be fashionable and relevant, but offer something that isn’t available elsewhere, with its own identity and point of view.”
It’s fashion with premium details
“It goes back to design. It needs to be modern, considered and elevated. A blouse for $59.90 will have a great design, come in a better fabric with a much more modern print, and be considered in the same way as a blouse in a more expensive fabric. Detail, silhouette and colour/print are elevated to make pieces more premium.
“At the top end of the range, we introduced a few more elements at a higher price point, but there is certainly something for everyone. The idea is not to alienate the existing customer, just give her and new customers something interesting and worthwhile.”
It’s for all ages
The new Warehouse is not aiming at a particular age group anymore. “I am designing things that I can imagine my stepmum would wear, and also my stepdaughter. If it’s a really nice blouse, you’ll wear it if you are 19 or 60.” – JE
Price range: $59.90 for a top to $449 for a silk dress.
Life Infinity opens daily, 10am-10pm. Tel: 6684-3131.
THE UNLIKELY PLACE FOR HEALTH SCREENINGS
China’s Life Infinity offers a proactive approach to healthiness.
Before Bradxit, the last time Angelina Jolie made as much buzz was when she had a double mastectomy and removed her ovaries and fallopian tubes to prevent cancer due to a faulty gene.
Dr Chen Li hasn’t personally had to make these kinds of decisions, but she shares Jolie’s “taking charge of your life before it’s too late” school of thought.
“To have a life well lived, one without regrets, you have to take charge, not just take care, of your health,” says the Chinese national and UK-trained dermatologist.
That’s why she and other like-minded entrepreneurs from China founded Life Infinity in 2002. It opened first in Shanghai, then Beijing, Guangzhou, Hainan, and now Singapore (next, Paris).
Backed by Hong Kong listed company Fullshare, it’s billed as “a personal health-management centre that offers functional health care and wellness services”. It has two objectives: one, to introduce preventive health care so you can age gracefully with customised and guided programmes; two, to provide a concierge service to link you to its roster of local associate medical clinics, and foreign specialists from the US, Europe and Japan for oneto- one consultations.
Its premises at 31 Scotts Road – in a black-and-white colonial house – have two sections: one addresses physical health; the other caters to holistic care.
In the health section, you start off with a halfhour consultation (at $250) with Lifestyle Infinity’s appointed local visiting consultant. The latter will then recommend the appropriate health screens from a curated list, The Healthscreen Menu. It covers the usual (like mammogram, bone density, cancer – the stuff that local hospitals also have) as well as uncommon ones like leaky gut syndrome and adrenal fatigue/burnout.
Screenings for the latter two are not available in Singapore because we don’t have the labs for the tests. “They are sent to Melbourne, which has the nearest Ministry of Healthapproved labs,” says Dr Chen Li.
“The leaky gut screen is to diagnose the health of the gut, and for people who experience bloating, have bad breath, and see food remnants in their stools. Adrenal screening is for unexplained fatigue, low immunity, and those who are always sick.”
Metal toxicity screening is another lesserknown option offered. “It’s available in hospitals here but doctors tend not to think about ordering this test. It looks for heavy metals and essential minerals, and is beneficial for people who live in places with industrial pollution.”
The second section of the centre is where you go for wellness treatments: TCM, customised fitness/ nutrition programmes, and feel-good pleasures like baths, massages, detox wraps and facials. – JE
ABOUT LIFE INFINITY
• It is the first health-care company approved for international medical tourism by the China State Council. According to Dr Chen Li, from January to February every year, during China’s spring break, “it will be packed with Chinese patients”. So avoid making appointments then.
• Nutrition advice from international lifestyle experts from Taiwan, China, Japan, Europe and the US is available via distant consultations, through e-mail and video chats.
• International medical specialists are only available if they’re visiting or you’re willing to fly them in.