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20 November 2018

Holiday Windows 2018 : Saks Fifth Avenue

CHRISTMAS IN Midtown Manhattan is always more than just a holiday shopping tradition. It becomes the world's preeminent showcase of visual merchandising at its grandest and most enchanting form. For decades now, beginning in mid-November, Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and other department stores on and around Fifth Avenue outdo each other in transforming their windows into elaborate, magical wonderlands. It's the stuff that visual merchandisers dream of.

18 November 2018

Joining Lenskart

THIS WEEK, I joined Lenskart to form and run the visual merchandising function for the company. The venture is now the fastest growing eyewear group in India, almost a decade after it started. This marks new beginnings for me. I'm amongst true innovators, entrepreneurs who take risks and go for it, young leaders who always look at new ways of doing things.

03 November 2018

FOCAL POINT : Barbra Streisand, "Walls"

BARBRA STREISAND's new studio album, the lush and variegated Walls, showcases the triumph of two voices. One is that unmistakable singing voice, unchallengeable since 1962, now sounding almost outworldly with its surprisingly pliant crescendos, effortlessly intuitive phrasing, and dramatic resonance. The 76-year-old icon proves on this album that she remains the singular force of nature in pop vocal music.

15 October 2018

What my ex-bosses taught me about looking ahead

RECENTLY, a former colleague surprised me with a short message. "You were the best (boss), and always will be best," this person wrote. I’m fortunate to have been in several positions of leadership, and even more fortunate to have been led by really awesome bosses. My ex-colleague's wonderful compliment gave me a chance to reflect on what I've learned from being a boss and standing out as a leader.

14 October 2018

FOCAL POINT : Barbra Streisand, "Imagine/What a Wonderful World"

THE SECOND release from Barbra Streisand's upcoming album Walls is a medley of John Lennon's "Imagine" and Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World". This is vintage Streisand—or at least the Streisand we all knew way back with recognizable singing traits. The impeccable breathing. The much-copied full-octave glissando. The grammarian's phrasing.

05 October 2018

FOCAL POINT : Kokila's logo

PENGUIN BOOKS' new imprint, Kokila, focuses on diverse books for children and young adults. According to Penguin, the imprint's mission is to “add depth and nuance to the way children and young adults see the world and their place in it.”

03 October 2018

The mockup and how it makes stores look better

I ALWAYS mock up show windows and in-store displays before rolling them out. Not because I need a pre-approval, but because mockups reveal the essence of an abstract idea and enable other stakeholders to understand and accept it . . . and eventually learn it.

02 October 2018

The seductiveness of Ray-Bans

WHEN FORM and function are wrapped in usability and seduction, you get a well-designed product. I can think of one: the Ray-Ban.

In 1937, the American medical equipment manufacturer Bausch + Lomb developed optical glasses for the US Army Air Corps to address vision and glare concerns suffered by their pilots. The eyeglasses blocked 85% of glare and high altitude light. Eventually, Bausch + Lomb created similar glasses for the general public, introducing what eventually became the Aviator model of metal sunglasses and giving birth to the Ray-Ban brand of eyewear. It was an instant runaway success. It stayed on the runway since then.

Eighty years later, Ray-Ban has become the most iconic brand of eyewear in history. From its military roots, the product has now evolved into a fashion must-have. It instantly transforms a user’s style statement, either by adding an edge to the user's overall look or by channeling a celebrity image, thanks mainly to its heavily favored use in film (think Reservoir Dogs, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Michael Jackson).

28 September 2018

FOCAL POINT : Barbra Streisand, "Don't Lie To Me"

FIFTY-SIX YEARS after she recorded her first album, Barbra Streisand releases a single (the first from her upcoming album Walls) that continues to place her squarely in the front and center of contemporary pop music affairs. "Don't Lie To Me" is a thumping pop anthem with catchy hooks that could have been written by Adele, Lady Gaga, or Mick Hucknall. The vocal and instrumental arrangements sound so modern, one is left to wonder why Ms. Streisand’s last two albums, despite a slew of pop-music collaborators, didn't leverage on her uncanny ability to still sing on the beat.

23 September 2018

The story of Biba, or how it all began

THIS IS the story of Biba, encapsulating 30 years of excellence in product and service. I created this video to help commemorate the company's vision ahead, with the idea of linking past, present, and future. It also celebrates the men and women who have helped build Biba as the most admired ladies' ethnicwear brand in India. The video debuted at the company's annual get-together in June 2018. It is now being used as part of corporate orientation sessions for new employees.

Leaving Biba

I HAVE left Biba after four years and nine months, the longest time I’ve ever spent in a company in India.

13 September 2018

FOCAL POINT : Barbra Streisand, "The Way She Wore"

BARBRA STREISAND's larger-than-life entertainment persona has always been defined by the way she wore her costumes, hairstyle, and makeup on screen. I've always been impressed with the production values of her film and television projects, and I'm even more fascinated with the manner that she keeps her identity intact even through the various clothes that she wears on screen.

03 September 2018

EPITAPH : Nina Lampe-Fiorentino (1923-2018)

"COMO FUERTE brisa, eres tu, eres tu, asi, asi, eres tu (Like a strong breeze, that's how you are to me)", I sang to my aunt, Nina Lampe-Fiorentino (1923-2018), over her kitchen table a few years ago. As the first-born of many cousins, she incessantly showered care and grace on her family during her long life. That heart of gold was matched with a beauty of diamond, a spirit of steel, and a mind of titanium. She was a breathtaking presence. Singing to her that night was my moment of thanking and loving her for all that she'd given.

01 September 2018

Back on track

AFTER TAKING a two-year break from active blogging, I'm back. The last 30 months have been so incredibly challenging and intense on the work front that I had to give my creative writing, among a few other pursuits, a temporary hiatus. All that is changing, as I'm embarking on a new career direction that will help me manage a more workable balance of home and office. As I write this post, I realized how sorely I've missed the hours of typing on the keyboard with the fragrant waft of coffee next to me as my thoughts flow, the search for that perfect image or video that catapults those thoughts, and the bit of cleaning up on the HTML as I deliver that final post. It's thrilling to be actively back on Window Views!

16 August 2018

EPITAPH : Aretha Franklin (1942-2018)

ARETHA FRANKLIN (1942-2018), Whitney Houston (1963-2012), and Barbra formed an indelible soundtrack to the way we were as children of a passing generation. Their music flowed straight from the heart and soul, and we understood what it truly meant to sing, to dance, to love, to r-e-s-p-e-c-t, to be part of a society that knows no barriers to race or religion.

With Ms. Franklin's departure, it is even more poignant to remember the empowerment that she fought for, and how much we have been given to help make this world a more united one. Farewell, Ms. Franklin, and thank you.

18 July 2018

FOCAL POINT : Nelson Mandela, "Homeland"

THIS YEAR marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. In commemorating the event, his family has partnered with WeTransfer to reveal previously-unseen illustrations by Mr. Mandela. They are sketches done after he retired from the presidency in 1999 as a way of making sense of his historic life.

16 July 2018

Viva la France!

THE FRENCH won over the Croatians in one of the most surprise-laden tournaments ever, the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Congratulations to the people of France and their followers! To further sweeten their victory, let me offer a now-trending, limited-edition variation of one of my favorite childhood snacks.

23 June 2018

EPITAPH : Feliza Ancheta-Rellosa (1925-2018)

LAST NIGHT, my father's last surviving sister, Feliza Ancheta-Rellosa (1925-2018), fell peacefully into slumber, sang with the gentle breezes of her dreams, and drifted tenderly to the celestial world. She moved on with the same elegance and grace that she showered on us in her long, beautiful life. Thanks for all the memories, Tita Fely, and see you again.

18 June 2018

The summer flowers of Biba

BIBA'S BEAUTIFUL summer is about to end; those flowers in the windows are about to be plucked. Kudos once again to the hardworking visual merchandising team of Biba for helping make the windows bloom.

08 June 2018

The tragic loss of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade

ANTHONY BOURDAIN (1956-2018) left the banquet before his main course is served, and Kate Spade (1962-2018) left the runway before her final bow is done. It affects me that they both belong to my generation, and that they are not ordinary angst-filled young people. They led highly successful professional lives and even helped others build foundations for their own careers. The greatest tragedy is not in how Mr. Bourdain and Ms. Spade ended their lives, but in how the happiness that they served to others evaded them in the end.

06 June 2018

TIME covers drones covering TIME

This week's TIME magazine has arguably its best cover in a very long, er, time. In this case, TIME doesn't just cover drones: drones cover time, literally. And the outcome is both as hopeful and ominous as its well-written coverage. Read about this special coverage (with a special cover) online.

12 May 2018

EPITAPH : Virginia Somonod-Toledo (1953-2018)

VIRGIE TOLEDO stared at me with mock annoyance, her arched eyebrows ready to fly out of her stern face and zap me. "Ano? Apat na taon kang nasa Israel, wala ka pa ring asawa? (What? You spent four years in Israel, and you're still unmarried?)" We were seated in the capacious living room of a mutual friend in Phnom Penh, and we were meeting for the first time since I left Manila four years earlier. "Virge, wala ka kasing clone, kaya single pa ako (You have no clone, that's why)", I retorted. She bellowed forth that laughter I so missed, then dabbed tears off her eyes. If there was someone I could drive to tears of laughter, it was Virgie.

Bell's Palsy, six months later

CHANGE IS constant in life, and so is goodness if you will it. Bell's Palsy is now slowly ebbing away, six months after engulfing me with unwelcome affection. As it ebbed, it is leaving behind new sensations. I can't fully smile anymore. The right side of face twitches by itself. There is always a sense of thickness on the right cheek. Fortunately (and unfortunately for Mr. Palsy), I have the big chunk of my face back, and so is my laughter. Nothing can ever change such goodness. That's constant.

04 March 2018

This thing called Bell's Palsy

ONE HUNDRED days ago, I lost my face to Bell's Palsy. This unexpected ailment paralyzed half of my face, making it agonizing to chew, blink, read or smile properly. The neurologist has extended two more months of therapies for full recovery. The wicked disease has failed in stealing my spirits, though: I've been laughing much more than ever before, usually at myself. To paraphrase an old song, my looks may be laughable and unphotographable, but my sense of self has become a favorite work of art!