For all you last minute Lucy’s out there who have yet to buy your holiday gifts, naughty naughty. Are you waiting for the elves to do your work for you? Well, have no fear, The HUNT is here with some nifty places to score fabulous and artisanal gifts. Read on my friends…
For the Magpie – CALLIXTO
The effervescent Austrian-Chinese Sasha is the brains (and beauty) behind this utterly divine jewelry and acessories label. She traverses the globe to source and celebrate local craftsmanship, resulting in a collection that’s jam-packed with unique goodies. Make like a Mayan princess with beaded collar necklaces from Oaxaca, channel Grecian goddesses with Athena earrings and embrace Turkish delights like evil eye pendants and Byzantine coin earrings. Everything is bold, beautiful, and guaranteed to elicit squeals of
envy delight from all the girls. Oh, and there’s a selection of homewares like fun wooden door stoppers, alpaca throws and vibrant cushion covers too.
For Your Dad, Brother, Uncle, Grandpa, Buddy or… well any Man really – TABS
Wherever you are in the world, when you don a pair of Rebecca Hanson’s shorts, you’re transported into the sandy, palm-lined shores of Bermuda. These are the real deal gentlemen – she’s a born and bred Bermudian. Traditionally made of wool (too hot) or linen (too wrinkly), TABS are slim cut in cool cotton twill. Designed to take you from boardroom to boat, the traditional business attire in Bermuda is shorts with a blazer and long socks. Not sure how that’ll go down in your hometown, but I definitely know a few gentlemen who could rock that look on the trading floor. Well, maybe…
For the Sentimental Softie – ELLIE ELLIE
Ellie Ellie is a proudly British brand that’s all about redesigning, recycling and hand-making. They offer personalized gifts built on their love for sustainable living with a dash of nostalgia. I adore their map cufflinks. It’s a genius idea. Simply decide on a memorable location for the recipient ( i.e their hometown or a place where they met their partner), then Ellie Ellie sources vintage maps from 1917-1979 to construct these very special cufflinks. Voila, a heartfelt pressie. Dad, if you’re reading this, you may or may not get a pair this Christmas (ahem-cough-wink). They have a ton of other options too, like retro-chic vinyl record clocks, artsy necklaces and cute lolly tins.
For Those That Like to Smell Good (so pretty much everyone) – MAD ET LEN
We all know the French are masters of the olfactory arts, and Mad et Len are certainly no exception. Hand-made in the village of Saint Julien du Verdon and named in homage to that Proustian fave, the madeleine, you’ve got scents as tantalizingly as the delicate cake. Luxurious candles, masculine tins filled with special rocks imparting woody aromas, room sprays and of course, personal fragrances. I stumbled upon them in the corner of a clothing boutique recently and couldn’t stop inhaling the heady aromas. Seriously, the stuff is like catnip – the sales person had to pry my fingers off the tin and towards the cash register…
For the Home Deco Nut – THE SPIRIT OF ASIA
Husband and wife owners Digna and Neil have travelled extensively throughout Myanmar to source and commission high quality lacquer ware, many based on designs from their personal antique collection. The artisans use traditional techniques handed down through generations to produce the most exquisite workmanship. A dear friend recently bought the last of Digna’s royal green and gold water beakers, whilst her hubby chose a small tea caddy with a star pattern, which almost looks aboriginal in its depiction of the night sky. Now she has her eye on strings of old glass colored beads from the plains of Bagan. Ornate, rare, and with a story. She’ll have to beat me to it.
For The Consumate Hostess with the Mostess – HEATHER TAYLOR HOME
Los Angeles native Heather is a gallerist and writer with a keen eye for aesthetics. Her collection of lovely linen runners, placemats and napkins stem from a love of entertaining at home. The way you set your table sets the tone for your meal, whether it be a simple evening en famille, or a gathering of friends. My own pick, if I had to choose, is the Turmeric Diamond Style, which is inspired by indigenous textiles and hand-embroidered by artisans in Chiapas, Mexico. She’s also started weaving these colorful, fluffy wall hangings that add life to any room.
For the ‘Makes Everything from Scratch’ Home Cook – DIM SUM: A FLOUR FORWARD APPROACH BY JANICE WONG AND MA JIAN JUN
Buy it on Amazon.com
Singaporean dessert doyenne Janice Wong is renowned for the molecular magic she performs on sweets and pastries. She recently won an award as Asia’s Best Pastry Chef for 2013. Now she’s turned her wand to dim sum with Chef Ma Jian Jun from China. With its beautiful images of delectable dumplings, this stunning book by Gatehouse Publishing is at home on your coffee table as well as in the kitchen. The chefs explore the different types of flours used and provide recipes and step by step instructions for beloved traditional buns, as well as new, exciting takes on old favorites. How about dumplings stuffed with dill turbot, yuzu cheese and egg yolk, or foie gras and cognac dumplings? Yes please. Arranged according to the different types of flours and pastry skins used, this is a detailed overview of the world of yum cha. Yum indeed.
For The Hipster and/or Scribe – VINTAGE EMPIRE
A vintage typewriter is a super cool gift for retro lovers and writers. I remember typing my school essays on Mom’s old clickety-clack banger, fretting in case I made a mistake. Oh, how times have changed. Today I can touch-type pretty well, not that it matters on my Mac. Singapore based peeps can check in with Vintage Empire, and for every one else, the typosphere is a mere google away; do some research and find out who ships to your neck of the woods. So tip tap type away luddite friends, you’re only a keystroke away from scrolls and town criers, my preferred method of communication.
For the Dapper Dandy and Dandyette – KAREN HENRIKSEN
A gentleman or a lady should never be without a hat. I’m not quite sure when this changed, or why, but I’m all for bringing them back as an essential accouterment to one’s daily wardrobe. UK based Karen Henriksen’s eponymous label does hand-crafted hats for men and women, as well as bespoke couture creations ideal for Ascott, weddings, derbys and the like. Whether it’s a pillbox, beret or fedora, Karen’s got you (and your head) covered with her classically elegant designs that are at once extraordinary and enduringly wearable.
For the Socially Conscious Consumer – EMI AND EVE
Fashion and textile designer Cassandra Postema has created ethical accessories with a story; her products have been recycled, reclaimed and hand crafted by artisans all over Asia. Look at this gorgeous bracelet made out of recycled bullets and bombshell casings found in Cambodian rice fields; it’s been transformed into an emblem of peace. This gorgeous fuchsia peacock pattern and quilted clutch is made by a small workshop employing disabled women in China, like Auntie Mai, a leprosy survivor who was cast out by her family. Cassandra also works with a weaving centre in Thailand, which was founded to provide income and art therapy to women who lost their jobs after the 2004 tsunami. Here’s a brand with heart, do check out the Emi and Eve website to learn more.