Christmas is barely a month away. Have you had time to mull over what you want to give as presents? Well, look no further. This weekend, get your yuletide shopping started at FLAIR THE FIFTH AT ROCKWELL. With over two hundred participating brands, you are sure to find gifts that are perfect for family and friends.

Just days ago, select guests were invited to a preview sale at the Marikit Ballroom of One Shang Place. About thirty sellers showcased their wares that ranged from eco-friendly casual wear, resort wear, sleepwear, and handpainted denim jackets and jeans. I spotted several bag labels, accessory booths, cosmetics, and skincare booths, and men’s custom made shoes. We were treated to samples from different food concessionaires. Since I’m not really a coffee drinker, I skipped the caffeine kiosks but for those of you who love coffee, you’ll find those in the bazaar.

The Busy Queen P’s Top Picks

The very first booth I visited was that of Wanderlust, the exclusive distributor of Spanish bag brand ANNEKE. Anneke is the brainchild of the former creative director of Marc Jacobs. The designs are fun, youthful , quirky even, and delightful. A girl with closed eyes is front and center in each bag. The maiden collection named JANE includes backpacks, shoulder bags, cross-body bags, and my favorite belt/bum bag. Cloth, leather, studs, little gems were used to make each design interesting. Prices range: PH1500 to PH5000.

The Busy Queen P wearing the ANNEKE bum bag.

Then I headed over to SPERANZA where I met its owner Mylene Aquino. She shared, “Speranza means hope in Spanish. It’s the women from rehabilitation centers and women prisoners who are responsible for crafting these beautiful woven bags. Each only weighs a pound, is durable and very competitively priced.” As fate would have it, I wished for the golden RAFAELA bag, pulled out a card from the table (she was raffling off the multi-colored arm candies) and I WON the bag! Price range:Php500 to PH2500

Hope in every bag – Beautiful woven straw bags from SPERANZA.

I had fun at the cosmetics booths, too. I love ELLANA’s glittery setting facial mist. MiMi carries Korean cosmetics and its own locally made line HALO. For the make-up junkie, there’s brow pomade, lip tints, lipsticks, blushes, lotions etc. BABE beauty line also has face mists, brow soap, and lippies.

Beauty products from Ellana Minerals, MiMi and Babe Beauty Line

Thinking of giving accessories to your girlfriends? PRISM MANILA sells healing crystals that have been made into earrings (only PH250!), necklaces and bracelets. I chose an amethyst necklace that the owner “cleansed” in a metal bowl before it was handed over to me. Amethyst is known for its relaxing, calming effect — just what I need! ISLAND STYLE Collection has resort wear, bags, and accessories from Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. My eyes instantly zoomed in the multi beaded bracelets with kamagong wood clasps (Just PH500!). Of course, I had to have one! COPPERAZO, as its name suggests, makes use of copper. When I asked, “Why copper?”, the owner gamely responded, “Why not?” Had to giggle at his candid answer. Pliable, hypo-allergenic and pleasing to the eye, copper wire is a great medium to highlight the different stones/ gems used in making rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.

PRISM MANILA owner cleanses the healing crystals before handing it over to customers, beaded bracelet from Island Style Collection and accessories from Copperazo.

TASTY BOX sells homemade dim sum like siopao, siomai dumplings, chicken feet, radish cake and more. A box of 12 sharksfin costs PH120. CHOCO LOCO from Davao has different flavors of cocoa nibblers that come in attractive black packaging. I love the fruity dark chocolate variant! Then there’s SANDY DAZA’s empanada. The recipe is from his mom – culinary legend Nora Daza. This one you have to taste for yourself. Basta it’s delicious! BOULANGERIE 22 has the softest, yummiest, chocolatiest custard pan bread. (I got so tired and hungry from carrying all my shopping bags that day. The Japanese chocolate custard pan bread was a lifesaver — Ate it in the car just before I dozed off ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Empanadas, Dim Sum and Cacao nibblers from Davao
Fruit jams from boulangerie are made from 70% fruit, not too sweet and are beautifully packaged in little wooden crates. Perfect for gift-giving this Christmas.

UNWASTED is art on denim. The artist/owner breathes life into old denim by adding on embroidery, patches, and paintings (Jackets PH10,000 up). SPIFFY SLEEPWEAR has cotton and silk sleepwear for moms and daughters (PH250 up) MARK BUMGARNER will also be at The Flair bazaar. I have my heart set on his hot pink bucket bag (PH15000). SAPATORS is owned by Stephen Torres, a third-generation shoemaker. Expect quality, comfortable, custom made shoes from this label.

Fashion Finds at the FLAIR preview sale. From top left: Art on used denim by UNWASTED, bucket bags by Mark Bumgarner, Men’s custom made shoes by Sapators, purses by POSH.

This is just a sneak peek at what you can expect from FLAIR THE FIFTH AT ROCKWELL. See you there on the 23rd and 24th of November! You need extra hands to carry all your loot!

With a pocketful of glitter,

 

 

 

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