When it comes to luxury shopping in Asia, we Filipinos, I’ve observed, have Singapore and Hong Kong as our top destinations. But as I found out, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to Orchard and Nathan Roads, for in one of Kuala Lumpur’s prime shopping districts Bukit Bintang, there’s another contender we visited: Starhill Gallery. Read more…
Starhill Gallery is, as mentioned, located in bustling Bukit Bintang, connected to JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur via a Time Tunnel. What visitors would notice first is, of course, the unique design and architecture, renovated extensively by US-based architect, David Rockwell.
Although the environs seem too aggressive and overwhelming with the number of tourists and locals, the complex has a reputation of being a true luxury mall, so it therefore enjoys privacy and exclusivity. Celebrities, like R&B star Usher, have reportedly gone around the mall sans any qualms about their security.
We were met by Starhill Gallery’s bubbly PR and marketing manager, Ms. Rachel, who took us for a full tour of the mall. She first gave us an overview and oriented us of what can be seen and explored on each of the mall’s seven floors.
We commenced our visit at some of their watch and jewelry stores. First up was Garrard & Co., UK’s Crown Jeweler that has made pieces for both Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana. Recently, Beyonce wore their one-of-a-kind necklace for her Mrs. Carter tour ad.
Jennifer Lopez, pop icon and one of the judges of American Idol last season, is known to wear jewelry from Carrera Y Carrera. Ms. Rachel said that the Spanish jeweler, known for their gold work, makes their exclusively-designed pieces by hand in Madrid.
Another jeweler popular among celebrities is Van Cleef & Arpels. Often spotted wearing their pieces are Julia Roberts, Mariah Carey, Jessica Alba, and Cameron Diaz. Like a number of other luxury brands, the jeweler only has a Malaysian store at Starhill Gallery.
Started in 1854 by a Swiss family, Gübelin opened its first shop in Asia at Starhill Gallery. Without a doubt, their pieces are expensive, but their jewels are very meticulously crafted, and the Gübelin Gem Lab thoroughly analyzes what goes into their pieces.
Opening its first Southeast Asian store at Starhill Gallery, jeweler Boucheron has the royals, the rich, and the famous as its clientele. What we noticed about their sparkling signature pieces is their inclination for serpents and nature.
Starhill Gallery hosts some of the most luxurious watches of the world. Thus, to show what they have to offer, they hold the annual event called A Journey Through Time, which is known to be Asia’s grandest luxury watch and jewellery showcase.
The first haute horlongerie boutique we went to was Bedat & Co., a Swiss watchmaker that specializes in women’s timepieces of elegance and sophistication. Their shop at Starhill Gallery is the first one in the world, so they really are showing off their luxury watches that are bedazzled in high-carat diamonds.
We weren’t able to take photos, but we also went into this haute horlongerie boutique called Cecille Purnell. The brand is known to be exclusively selling watches with tourbillions, which according to Ms. Rachel, assures the accuracy and complex craftsmanship of the watch. That novel mechanism of luxury watches likewise signifies their very expensive price.
In our opinion, the Romaine Jerome timepieces sold at Khronos-Unique Horlongerie are the most amazing finds at Starhill Gallery, as their watches have the “DNA of famous legends.” The two from the collection we saw were Air, which has moon dust, and Sea, which controversially has parts that were made from the metal of the Titanic.
While we were going around the mall, Ms. Rachel whisked us all of a sudden, and next thing we knew, we were seated among Kuala Lumpur’s socialites, VIPs, and fashionistas for Starhill Gallery’s Fashion Week S/S 2013. Featured were collections from Khoon Hooi, Valentino, REDValentino, Kenzo, Missoni, PAROSH, McQ by Alexander McQueen, and Klutched.
After the fashion show, we checked out some of their fashion brands. The first store we went into was Missoni, which is known for its great creativity. Their shop at Starhill Gallery offers the entire latest collection of Missoni, accessories included.
Lady Gaga-favorite Alexander McQueen has a brand called McQ. Its flagship store at Starhill Gallery features apparel and accessories for ladies and men that capitulate the “essence and spirit of youth and sub cultures, and the concepts of anarchy, rebellion, and revolution.”
A separate line from Valentino, which also has a shop there, REDValentino promotes women’s “contemporary and unconventional style” that deviates from usual ready-to-wear.
Side-by-side are two interesting shops that we went to—Leo and Antoinette. The former is a boutique for men, with items from Alessandro Dell Acqua, Cesare Paciotti, Cesare P., Comme des Garçons, Dsquared², Fratelli Rossetti, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Junya Watanabe, Paul & Joe, Pollini, Roberto Cavalli, StefanoBi, Trussardi, VICINI by Giuseppe Zanotti, Viktor & Rolf, and Y-3 by Yohji Yamamoto. The latter, meanwhile, is for the ladies, with pieces from Alessandro Dell’ Acqua, Ballin, Casadei, Cesare Paciotti, Cesare P., Dsquared², Fratelli Rossetti, JB Martin, Jean Paul Gaultier, Kenzo, NSEW, P.A.R.O.S.H., VICINI by Giuseppe Zanotti, Y-3 by Yohji Yamamoto, and Zanellato. We weren’t able to take photos, though.
While not a fashion brand, I should also write about a store that we were pleased to see—Leica. Purported to be the world’s optimum camera, it has a presence at Starhill Gallery. Of course, we took some time looking at the cameras and the gallery inside the store.
After our afternoon touring around, I thought Filipinos need not to travel as far as to Europe only to shop for these luxury brands. With its eclectic mix of brands, all high-end to luxury, Starhill Gallery is a worthy alternative to Hong Kong and Singapore’s most extravagant malls.
181 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hours: 10:00 AM-10:00 PM daily
Contact: +603 2782 3800 (concierge) or www.starhillgallery.com
Next year will be Visit Malaysia Year 2014 with the theme, “Celebrating 1Malaysia Truly Asia.” Visitors can expect a series of year-long special events and activities. For more updates on VMY 2014, check out tourism.gov.my and like Tara Na Sa Malaysia on Facebook.