Forget the old stereotype of the gentleman whose idea of a workout is a few rounds of ballroom dancing. The new urbane man is as in touch with his genteel side as he is with his powerful inner beast.
01: HIIT IT
Celebrities such as Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson swear by this new extreme exercise for their enviable physiques; and with each session usually lasting around 20 minutes, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) offers maximum workout in minimum time for time-strapped executives. The routine consists of short, alternating sets of brutally high- and low-intensity activities, and is said to be more effective than an hour on the bicycle or treadmill. There are a few HIIT gyms in town, including Ritual Gym that has a convenient Raffles Place branch for CBD warriors. Just bring yourself; from stylish exercise gear to grooming products, everything is provided for. The floor is even shock-absorbent so that you can just kick off your Oxfords and train barefoot. You have no excuse.
02: RULES TO BE BENT
You love a stately marque, but don’t mind a ride that shows the savage side of you that kills the competition. Enter The Bentayga Mulliner. It is not just masculine good looks; it burns the tarmac at a top speed of 301kmh – the fastest for any SUV in the world. It also boasts the world’s first electric active roll control technology that delivers exceptional handling and ride comfort. The new model launched in March has the luxurious spoils too. The handcrafted interior includes a wine-bottle cooler and an illuminated chilling cabinet with Cumbria Crystal flutes. Owners can even create their ambient light setting – because the true gentleman doesn’t ease up on details.
03: JUNGLE JUG
For those days that stretch late into the night, others trudge to the pantry for a pedestrian cuppa from the dispenser, but you forge forward, fuelled by your favourite single estate brew, kept piping hot in Stanley’s Master Series thermal flask. Clad with super strong stainless steel throughout – from body, pour-through stopper to vacuum-insulated cup – the latest series by the 104-year-old brand favoured by everybody (from miners to outdoor adventurers) promises to keep contents hot (or cold) for an astounding 27 hours. The vacuum-insulated cup even helps to keep your drink hot for 20 minutes, after it has been poured out. To anybody who asks why you are bringing jungle camping equipment to work, tell him it’s a jungle out there.
04: HERE COMES THE CALVARY
If the business world is a battlefield, then there is no more fitting footwear for the urban warrior than Austrian bottier Ludwig Reiter’s Husaren boots. The ankle straps are modelled after those on the boots of the Prussian cavalry, allowing them to be adjusted with just one hand. The commando-style Goodyear welted rubber soles will give you sure footing whether you are at a dusty site checking the company’s latest project, or navigating snowy hillsides while on holiday. Best yet, it’s supremely pliable and soft – you’ll be spoiled.
05: CALLING ULTRAMAN
Ultramarathon running: torturous events that go on for days, often in punishing environments. “Long-distance running is a solitary sport and you need a certain level of mental toughness and resilience to push through the difficult, dark patches of a race, when there’s no one cheering you on,” says Singapore runner Ian Lye who has been doing ultramarathons and trail running since 2013, and who competed in the 240km Marathon des Sables in the Sahara desert in 2014. The Switzerland-based global compliance operations manager at JP Morgan adds: “The mental resilience you develop from having to dig that deep within yourself carries over into your professional life, because you learn so much about yourself during those times of adversity, and just how much more you’re capable of achieving.” Ultrarunning offers other rewards: Often taking participants across brutal yet beautiful terrain, such events are definitely a different way to see the world.
06: GET SMART
Monitor workouts, deliver text messages and e-mail, make payments, enable GPS navigation – there doesn’t seem to be much that smartwatches can’t do, save, perhaps, looking sharp on one’s wrist.
Solution: smart timepieces by premium horology brands. Hitting stores this month is Montblanc’s first smartwatch, the Summit. While it runs on the latest Android Wear 2.0, the Summit’s exterior is all traditional horology. Inspired by Montblanc’s 1858 classic watches, it has domed sapphire crystal glass – a first for a smartwatch.
(RELATED: The 21 most impressive watches of SIHH 2017.)
07: CYCLE AND CARRIAGE
What do you do after you’ve invested in the best bicycle money can buy? Entrust it to a Douchebag. Acclaimed Norwegian bag manufacturer Douchebags has collaborated with British pro cyclists Team Sky on two lightweight bike travel carriers that are the result of two years of intensive R&D. Called The Tour (for road bikes) and The Trail (for mountain bikes), they combine the best of hard and soft cases, and feature perfectly placed foam and honeycomb board support to keep your precious velocipede in place. You can even link a few together to create a train if you’re travelling with cyclist pals. Bonus: the all-black bags – that collapse to a conveniently small size when empty – are super stylish.
BUSINESS AS USUAL
He pairs bespoke Cifonelli suits with $20 tees, struts into every meeting in sneakers, and has the world swooning. Admit it: everybody wants to be Bobby Axelrod in Billions, the irreverent maverick who sets his own rules. Here’s how to play the part.
08: SOLE PROPRIETOR
The sneaker trend is not about to go anywhere. What started as an underground Swedish footwear label has risen to cult status in just three years, and the handmade kicks from Axel Arigato now adorn the feet of A-listers likes Ben Affleck. If sneaker culture is new to you, start with a conservative cap-toe sneaker, which comes in a range of leathers spanning sober grey suede and python-embossed to the colour of this season: nude pink. If you seek comfort above everything else, look up one year-old start-up Allbirds, which has won over technopreneurs of Silicon Valley. The shoes are made of breathable, moisture-wicking, superfine merino wool, so wearing them feels a little like pulling on a pair of comfy socks. If you still aren’t sure about lacing up, the brand has also launched a line of wool smoking slippers last month. Excuse us while we buy up this limited edition.
09: ALL EYES ON ART
It is often speculated that the character of Bobby Axelrod is based on hedge fund magnate Steve Cohen. Infamously known as the “most wanted man on Wall Street”, Cohen is as fanatical about stocks as he is about building an art collection. If you are looking to give your own art portfolio some edge, remember this name: Not Vital. In the pantheon of great artists that you have probably not heard of but should, Not Vital stands out as much for his unusual moniker as for his multi-hyphenate resume. In a career that spans half a century, the Swiss-born sculptor, designer, architect, philanthropist and painter has been producing a body of work that is much admired and collected by an international cabal of aficionados. He has built a house with a glass roof that disappears in the rain, cast a thousand piles of cow dung in bronze in aid of Nepalese burn victims, and most recently, he’s designed a non-denominational chapel, whose floor is flooded with water, on a windy bluff overlooking the South China Sea in Bataan, Philippines.
10: SHAKE IT UP
While you wait for the next big life achievement to crack open that bottle of Bowmore 1957 or The Macallan “M”, there are delectable alternatives that stray from classic formulas. Johnnie Walker’s Blender’s Batch, a series of new whiskies that experiment with assorted casks for new flavours, has launched its second edition, Bourbon Cask & Rye Finish, in Singapore. Even Martell, the oldest of the four big cognac houses, has introduced its first non-chill filtered cognac, the Martell NCF, made specifically to be enjoyed with ice, mixers and thumping music.
11: JOY RIDE
You can’t get to heaven in an old Ford car, but the limited edition Eden motorcycle by Vietnam-based, unconventional maker Bandit9 will take you to Cloud Nine. Loosely based on a 1967 Honda Supersport, this stunning custom-designed ride is inspired by Zen philosophy, art and sci-fi, and stars a seamless, gleaming unibody of polished stainless steel that’s accented with details like a gas cap crafted of Tuscan black marble and a hand-stitched Italian leather seat. It’s as practical as it is pretty too: at the Eden’s core roars a 125cc Honda engine that isn’t just reliable, but also surprisingly economical to service. Only nine were made; snag yours now.
12: THE NEW RETAIL
Have you ever stayed at a hotel or a friend’s home, and been overcome by a wave of covetous lust for a certain choice piece of accessory or furniture that you wish you had the taste level to acquire in the first place? All the more to applaud the emerging trend in which retail spaces are styled like the apartment of your well-heeled hipster fund-manager friend or hotel rooms, in which everything in them (from the wallpaper and carpet to the light fixtures, side table and towels) are available for sale. For your next major retail fix, check out London’s 33 New Road, Manhattan’s The Line and Copenhagen’s The Apartment.
13: CALL BACK
One type of mobile phone is set to experience growth of more than 5,300 per cent this year according to a study, and it isn’t what you might expect. Say hello (again!) to the dumbphone, the new-old solution against the onslaught of app notifications, whose resurgence is due to freshly installed 4G capability. Take your pick from a burgeoning bunch. The coolest of these is the Nokia 3310, a blast from the past that’s been updated with little more than a camera. It might betray your vintage, but it shows a certain wisdom – and we certainly think it is a lot cooler than carrying the expected It phone.
14: BARE YOUR TEETH
Gloomy economic news all round? Bite back with this season’s slew of quirky apparel and accessories featuring toothy shark and dinosaur motifs. The options span Coach’s Jaws-inspired Sharky sweater, Thom Browne’s natty Shark Bag in pebbled leather, and mischievous dinosaur tees at Saint Laurent and Paul Smith, so those who want to tear into this trend will surely find something that appeals. Just wear the bold designs with flair so you don’t get swallowed by them.
15: SHOW HAND
Do not resist the clutch. It is the cure to unsightly, bulging trouser pockets stuff ed with your wallet, phone, car keys and everything else you need to get through the day. And it is the most effortless way to jazz up any outfit. We aren’t asking you to walk around with little quilted leather pouches complete with a fur pouf attached. Think sensible, minimalist designs in delicious colours – such as Hermes’ Bazar calfskin clutch in Orange Poppy or Bally’s bright blue pouch for Spring.
THE CLASSIC REVIVAL
The man about town isn’t just on top of the most current trends – he also celebrates the evergreen styles and rituals.
16: GLOBAL CITIZEN
New York label Palmiers du Mal is tailored to the man about town…or anywhere else, really. Founded just last year, the brand has already drawn the attention of both the fashion industry and the jet-setting crowd, and it’s easy to see why. The luxurious, mod resort line is packed with pieces that are relaxed yet sartorially smart – think lounge jackets in comfy canvas or Japanese denim, louche silk “sleep shirts” and more. The inspiration? Everywhere, naturally.
Mezcal – tequila’s smoky, sultry cousin – is the latest artisanal spirit craze to tempt you away from that trusty single malt. Sip top-quality mezcals, neat or fashioned into cocktails, at Junior, the city’s newest hidden bar located inside Crackerjack. A concept by the same people behind 28 Hong Kong Street, Junior changes its focus every six months. The first pop-up: Norma, which pays tribute to the best agave spirits from Mexico. Settle into one of the 10 luxurious leather seats and let Peter Chua and Zachary de Git, multi-award winning mixologists and all-round entertainers, guide you through the complexities of this exquisite liquid.
18: BE HERE: THE NEXT FOODIE DESTINATION
Quite without anyone noticing it, Filipino cuisine is experiencing a culinary renaissance. Much of the momentum is building in the capital Manila where a generation of young chefs and farmers – newly returned from stints abroad and bristling with tasty ideas – are championing farm-to-table and head-to-tail cuisine. Their menus reach beyond the tried-and-true adobo and sinigang, to encompass imaginative dishes that joyfully blend South East Asian and Western culinary traditions with Filipino techniques like souring agents and ingredients like catfish, locally sourced herbs and vegetables, and sweetbreads. Note these Manila restaurants in your schedule: Hey Handsome, Toyo Eatery, Gallery Vask, Grace Park, Mecha Uma and Manam.
19: DIVE INTO OPULENCE
A bespoke Champagne Room stocked with some rare bottles. A dizzying array of more than 1,000 gins, spanning historical distills from more than a century ago to craft gins by contemporary artisans. An awe-inspiring, three-storey-high tower of wines. A collection of spirits and wines that took over two years to curate and assemble. There is a lot more to Atlas Bar than gilded walls and grand gothic architecture, and they all point towards a sophisticated appreciation for hedonistic pleasures. Jay Gatsby would approve.
20: SEA AND BE SEEN
Because counting air miles is for the masses, re-live the romance of travelling like how it was done in the days of the great explorers: by sea. And do so on a designer yacht, a floating cruiser that’s custom-designed by a bold-faced named starchitect or designer – like the late Zaha Hadid’s intricate hive-like vessel for Blohm + Voss; Frank Gehry’s own private yacht with its handsome, almost homey, design; or, if money’s no object, Philippe Starck’s homage to the submarine with his snub-nosed design for a Russian billionaire. Prices are, as they say, available on request.
21: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
Thanks to technology and our society’s growing affluence, luxury is becoming increasingly democratised. But if you miss the exclusivity, there are clubs available to only a select few. Opening in the third quarter of this year is 1880, a 22,000 sq ft club on Robertson Quay that brings together a cafe, bar, library, spa, barbershop and salon, along with membership benefits like concierge services and investment opportunities. 1880 is just the latest to join a growing number of such clubs, such as the business-focused Madison Rooms, the revived Goh Loo Club and the Straits Clan, which will open next year.
22: BRILLIANT MOVES
The favoured masculine accessory today, aside from watches, rings and cufflinks, is the bracelet – which is big business for luxe accessory brands like Tateossian.
If you’d like to give the woven leather or beaded bracelets a rest, here are good alternatives: the Ecrou de Cartier bracelet, given an industrial edge by a design inspired by nuts and bolts. We also like the textured stingray bracelets by New York-based StingHD, which recently partnered independent watchmaker Christophe Claret to create the X-Trem-1 StingHD. Each watch comes with two straps, and a bracelet with a black diamond-studded skull and ruby eyes.
- Allbirds sneakers
- Axel Arigato
- Bentayga Mulliner
- Bobby Axelrod
- Ecrou de Cartier
- Goh Loo Club
- High Intensity Interval Training
- Husaren boots
- Ian Lye
- J P Morgan
- Ludwig Reiter
- Madison Rooms
- Not Vital
- Stanley's Master Series
- Steve Cohen
- Steve Jobs
- Straits Clan