SINGAPORE (Dec 25): Audrey Simon, Benjamin Cher, Chan Chao Peh, Jeffrey Tan, Joan Ng, Michelle Zhu and Trinity Chua highlight the products, events and fads that caught the eye in 2017.

1. Heart and sole
The Heart Sandal by Tory Burch has sexy strappy heels made of navy leather and a cheeky red appliqué.

2. Designer flats
Chanel’s ballerina shoes are quilted and embellished with bows and the stitched CC logo. Wear them with jeans, shorts, skirts and dresses.

3. For the weekend
This is a no brainer: For weekend wear, throw on a red Polo dress by Lacoste. Add on a thin belt, a Panama hat and a pair of strappy sandals.

4. Tie a bow
Chaumet introduces Insolence, a collection of high jewellery pieces inspired by the simple bow. The bow is made of a diamond ribbon and a rose-gold rope chain that intertwines so the wearer can tie and untie it.

5. Cooking made easy
The WMF Speed Profi frying pan has a Rapid Heat Control feature that ensures even distribution of oil and heat. Within minutes, the pan heats up and you can start cooking.

6. Inspired by nature
Bottega Veneta Pour Homme has captured the scent of Northern Italy — woody and spicy notes are mixed with pimento and fir balsam.

7. Travel smart
The Alpha Bravo series by Tumi has introduced the Alpha Bravo Reflective collection. The items are made of a super durable poly mesh material with a sheen. At night, the reflective silver of the fabric makes you more visible to passing vehicles, keeping you safe at all times.

8. Style and function
Saint Laurent has released a slew of bags that are gorgeous and come in a multitude of shades. And, they are big enough to hold everything.

9. Anniversary special
This year’s Red Carpet Collection by Chopard was a hit at the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival held in May.

10. A classic tale
The movie Beauty and the Beast inspired local jeweller Carrie K. to launch a series of pieces that marry beautiful gems with the jagged outline of the beast’s teeth to represent imperfection.

11. Nail it
In the 1970s, Aldo Cipullo took inspiration from the humble nail and turned it into the Juste Un Clou bracelet for Cartier.

We have two reasons to celebrate with the royals

13. And baby makes five. Kate Middleton and Prince William are expecting their third child in 2018.

14. Last month, Prince Harry made official his engagement to American actress Meghan Markle. The wedding is set for May 19 next year.

They were known for their showmanship and we will never forget them

15. Mary Tyler Moore
On Jan 25, we said goodbye to the star of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In the TV series of the 1970s, she played Mary Richards, a single career woman in a male-dominated world. She broke the mould of TV stereotypes of women being the homemaker, wife and mother and paved the way for other shows such as Murphy Brown and Ally McBeal.

16. Chester Bennington
Linkin Park lost its frontman on July 20, two months after his best friend Chris Cornell of Soundgarden killed himself. Bennington, who had a history of addiction and depression, died of suicide by hanging.

17. David Cassidy
Teen heart-throb David Cassidy, who shot to fame in the 1970s musical sitcom The Partridge Family, died of organ failure on Nov 21. When the series ended, young Cassidy found life difficult as he struggled to maintain his popularity while battling his inner demons. We will always remember him for his bubblegum hit I Think I Love You.

The following are making a splash in their careers

18. Armie Hammer
This actor has a bright future ahead of him after he gave a sterling performance in Call Me by Your Name, a coming-of-age drama. Hammer has already earned himself a Golden Globe nomination and this might lead to an Oscar nomination too.

19. Lai Chan
This Singapore fashion designer has given new life to the cheongsam with his creative flair. We were so pleased to see his collection on the runway when it opened this year’s Singapore Fashion Week. We know we will see more of his designs in the coming year and beyond.

20. Melvin Ang
Melvin Ang’s company, mm2 Asia, is still best known for its hit Ah Boys to Men franchise. But Ang is slowly turning the $1.2 billion entity into Southeast Asia’s biggest media and entertainment player. This year, he sealed a deal to acquire Cathay Cineplexes and listed concert organiser UnUsUaL. As mm2 expands, Ang could well put Singapore on the global media map.

21. Malcolm Lee
This year, Malcolm Lee received his second Michelin star for his restaurant, Candlenut, which features Nonya food. Lee uses the flavours of Peranakan cooking, which he observed and learnt from his mother. He makes everything from scratch and has reintroduced some tedious-to-prepare dishes such as nasi ulam.

22. Kaia Gerber
Sixteen-year-old Kaia Gerber (pictured) has already made a name for herself in the world of fashion. She is ranked up there with her modelling peers such as Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner. It also helps that mum is Cindy Crawford.

23. In true colours
The Pilot Juice Up collection comes in 22 colours, which range from soft pastels to loud metallics. Colouring just got more fun.

24. Beauty in a drop
The Body Shop’s Drops of Light serum contains red algae mixed with Vitamin C to help skin get rid of dark spots and pigmentation.

25. Optical illusions
Luxottica has created frames that are not only functional but also an extension of your personality. The designs for women take their cue from runway shows by Ralph Lauren, Miu Miu and Versace.

26. Fitting tribute
Montblanc Muses Edition pays tribute to Marilyn Monroe with a Special Edition writing instrument set that includes a fountain pen, ballpoint and rollerball.

27. The animal inside
Reebok unleashes the InstaPump Fury sneakers that feature novel touches such as Pellegrini pony hair in sandy tones. The sneakers were designed in collaboration with Mark Ong, founder of SBTG, and Mandeep Chopra, founder of Limited EDT.

28. Lip service
Clarins offers make-up with skincare benefits that are guaranteed to leave skin moisturised and lips nourished.

29. For the eyes
Marc Jacobs’ beauty collection features this Eye-conic Multi-finish Eyeshadow Palette ($69). There are six new shades and four amazing finishes — buttery matte velvet, shimmering satin, sparkling silk and metallic lamé.

30. Cool casuals
Berluti has some summer essentials, including this pair of sporty footwear with canvas straps.


31. US President Donald Trump tweeted “despite the constant negative press covfefe”on May 31. And with that, 31 million followers on Twitter were left baffled.

International news that gained our attention

32. Donald Trump became the 45th president of the US and sparked off countless headlines with his words and tweets.

33. Xi Jinping cemented his role as China’s top leader at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

34. Japan’s Emperor Akihito said he would abdicate in April 2019 — the first Japanese monarch to do so in more than two centuries.

35. Retired US accountant Stephen Paddock shot dead 58 concertgoers and wounded 546 more from his hotel room in Las Vegas. He later committed suicide.

36. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the arrests of princes, ministers and tycoons, mainly on corruption charges.

37. The plight of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar drew international criticism of the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Major news that made headlines at home

38. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings, Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling, made public their dispute over the property of their father, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

39. The Attorney-General’s Chambers initiated contempt of court proceedings against Li Shengwu, son of Lee Hsien Yang, over a private Facebook comment in connection with the unresolved family feud.

40. In a process marred by controversy, Halimah Yacob was named first female president of Singapore.

41. Long-serving Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang said he would be stepping down in 2018.

42. Cambridge graduate-turned-graphic artist Sonny Liew bagged three Eisner Awards for his graphic novel The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye.

43. Singapore’s train system was besieged by woes such as frequent breakdowns, a tunnel flood and even a minor crash between two trains.

Our top picks of eateries that joined the dining scene this year

44. Lion City classics
Craft beers and some of the best home-made Nonya desserts in Singapore can be found at Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill at Clarke Quay, which brings together chargrilled satay and other barbecued favourites in classic Violet Oon style.

45. A love that lasts  
Amò was love at first visit for us. Its wood-fired Signature Pizza, heady cocktail creations and captivating 1950s warehouse vibe definitely warrant a second visit, or more.

46. Fine cuts
Located atop the newly opened Andaz Singapore, 665°F pays homage to life’s finest with halal-certified prime cuts and sustainable seafood, to be enjoyed together with stunning views of Singapore’s skyline and interiors imbued with the elegance of classic Savile-Row tailor shops.

47. Kyoto cookin’   
Chef Masayasu Yonemura dazzles with his new show-and-dine concept Teppan. The eatery is the latest celebrity chef restaurant to join Resorts World Sentosa and diners get a front-row view of the sizzling action.

48. Stuck on kushiage
Widely regarded as a popular street snack in Japan, deep-fried skewers (kushiage/kushikatsu) are served in elevated omakase style at Ginza Rokukakutei, the first overseas outpost of the Michelin-starred flagship outlet based in Osaka.

Highly anticipated hotel openings that took place in 2017

Millennial-focused hotel chain YOTEL opened its first flagship hotel in Asia this year in Singapore. The rooms at its Orchard Road property, called “cabins”, have super-strength WiFi and space-saving convertible beds, aside from the usual creature comforts. 

50. Hotels on Stevens
AccorHotels’ 254-room Novotel Singapore on Stevens and 518-room Mercure Singapore on Stevens were launched within weeks of each other. They are located just a stone’s throw away from the Orchard Road shopping district.

51. Sofitel Singapore City Centre
October saw Accor’s 800th hotel in Asia-Pacific being launched on Wallich Street. Sofitel Singapore City Centre is located above the Tanjong Pagar MRT station and houses French-Chinese restaurant Racines. 

52. Andaz Singapore
The first Andaz hotel to open in Southeast Asia, this 342-room luxury boutique property in Bugis occupies the top 15 floors of DUO. Guests at the hotel, designed by celebrity architect Andre Fu, get to enjoy breathtaking views of the city.

53. Courtyard by Mariott Singapore Novena
Proclaimed as the area’s tallest hotel, Courtyard by Marriott is at the doorstep of Health City Novena and directly accessible from the Novena MRT station.

These noteworthy (or infamous) songs had everyone talking and singing

54. Shape of You
The popularity of Shape of You by Ed Sheeran is akin to that of Psy’s Gangnam Style released in 2012 — a catchy but horrendously overplayed tune. Parts of the song’s tune is revealed to have been ripped off TLC’s 1990s hit, No Scrubs.

55. Despacito
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s Despacito hit a historic three billion views on YouTube in August. A remix version of the song (Spanish and English) features Justin Bieber. During a performance in a New York club, Beliebers (fans of Justin Bieber) were sorely disappointed when their idol forgot the Spanish lyrics.

56. Man’s Not Hot
The lyrics to British comedian Michael Dapaah’s first single Man’s Not Hot, released under the moniker Big Shaq, features nonsensical, hilarious lines, including “Two plus two is four; minus one that’s three, quick maths” and most notably, “the ting goes skrrrahh!”.

57. Look What You Made Me Do
Taylor Swift returned with the hit Look What You Made Me Do. It is said to be a revenge song, hitting out at those who had crossed her. If the song is not to your liking, we are sure you will at least enjoy the video directed by Joseph Kahn.

58. Thunder
Imagine Dragons gave us Thunder early in the year. Through this song, lead singer Dan Reynolds takes listeners back to his childhood where he had dreams of making it big. Thunder represents lightning before the thunder — a flash of light and the rumbling thunder of success that was coming.

59. Something Just Like This
Coldplay and The Chainsmokers got together for this much-needed, uplifting anthem. The song tells us to not look for a superhero; instead, all we need is a reliable friend to lean on.

60. Sign of the Times
Harry Styles could do no wrong this year. He had a hit movie Dunkirk and struck out on his own with a solo album, Sign of the Times. The title track is a raw, gritty and honest song, and a clear indication that he has shaken off his boy band image.

61. Smile
Jay-Z released Smile, along with a video that depicts his childhood with his mother as the sole breadwinner and caregiver. He even gave her some airtime. Through this song, Jay-Z opens up about his mother Gloria Carter coming out as a lesbian.

From local star to Hollywood hottie, from restaurateur to humble snack seller, we told their stories

62. Pierre Png
Like fine wine and denim, veteran actor Pierre Png seems to get better with age — not just career-wise, but also in terms of his personal outlook on life. He has gone through many changes over the years, mostly for the better. “I used to be a very angry person,” he says. “When I didn’t get the things I needed [for work], I used to pull out my hair and punch walls. Now, I don’t lose sleep over it; I don’t take it out on those around me either. It’s not their fault, so why should the people I love have to suffer for it?”

63. Patrick Dempsey
In September, Options met with the actor when he was in Singapore for the first time at the invitation of TAG Heuer to celebrate the brand’s DNA in motor racing as well as to launch the Heuer Globetrotter exhibition. At 51, he still has the looks, but a lead role in a romcom might not be in the offing. His next project is a 10-episode TV series adaptation of a best-selling thriller written by Swiss author Joël Dicker. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is scheduled for release next year.

64. Violet Oon and family
Singapore’s food ambassador Violet Oon explains why she attributes the success of her eponymous chain of restaurants entirely to her two children, Tay Su-lyn and Tay Yiming. Oon’s third and latest F&B project is named Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill. She claims that Violet Oon Inc, the company under which all three of her restaurants currently operate, is mainly a joint effort between her son and daughter.

65. Diana Ser
Bilingual journalist, presenter, producer and host Diana Ser launched her career in the 1990s. Ser is host of Innocence Lost, a heart-wrenching documentary show that examines child labour around Asia. Her core values of compassion and commitment to her work have led Montblanc to select her as friend of the brand for the Bohème collection of ladies’ timepieces. The synergy is there, as Montblanc has always been at the forefront when it comes to giving back to society.

66. Gina Rajan
Gina Rajan struggled to make ends meet when she ventured into business, making vadai, a crispy, deep-fried lentil fritter, for sale. After her husband died, she and her sons continued the business at Carlton Restaurant and now at Dunman Food Centre. Gina’s son, Daniel, focuses on the marketing and operational aspects of the business. He hopes to expand into the manufacturing and mass-producing of not only vadai but also the brand’s home-made sauces and pastes.

The best tech ‘toys’ released this year

67. iPhone X
Apple’s latest flagship phone offers users facial recognition to unlock their phones. As well as being able to animate emojis, the iPhone X also has a telephoto camera with optical image stabilisation.

68. DJI Spark
The DJI Spark is a drone that literally fits in the palm of your hand. Be ready to take high-resolution pictures as the simple controls and flight protection technology let you whiz it around with no worries.

69. Google Pixel buds
Google’s earbuds do more than just play music or answer calls. When paired with the Google Pixel 2, users can get real-time translations in 40 languages, including Chinese, Tamil, Japanese and Korean.

70. Sonos PLAYBASE
The PLAYBASE is simple to set up. It controls your TV and music speakers and delivers crystal clear sound, while being able to be controlled by an Amazon Alexa device with your voice.

71. Sony Xperia Touch
This projector turns any surface into an interactive touchscreen, allowing more people to interact on one screen.

These handy apps made our lives easier

72. Tripit
Ever worried about missing your flight? With Tripit, that could be a thing of the past. The app consolidates your travel itinerary, allowing you see your entire trip in one place.

73. 1Password
Forgot your password? Fret not. 1Password remembers all your passwords for you. All you have to do is remember one password to unlock everything.

74. Parking.SG
Pay for street side or coupon parking with your credit card using the Parking.SG app. It also provides refunds if your parking duration ends earlier.

75. Paper
This app by Fifty Three is great for jotting down notes or sketching out ideas on your smart device. Complemented with pens of different colours, your idea can be brought to life on screen.

76. Quartz
Get your news in text-message-sized chunks from the Quartz app, where news stories are told in an interactive manner, similar to texting a friend.

Tomes we enjoyed and think you would too

77. Singapore, Incomplete by Cherian George
Cherian George’s collection of thoughts about his birth country is deeply personal, coloured by his experiences as a journalist and an academic in the country. He does not offer answers to the quandaries he thinks the country is facing, but calls for more open conversations.

78. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
Roy’s second novel after the critically acclaimed The God of Small Things is a heavyweight book with characters that are both worth fighting for and difficult to tolerate. Intertwined with the plot is India’s tattered history, such as the Kashmiri separatist movement.

 79. The Golden House by Salman Rushdie
This is the tale of a real-estate tycoon with a Russian wife and three adult sons who just moved to downtown New York — and quickly grew in power and influence over the city. The narrator is a 20-something nobody.

80. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
A soap opera about really rich people fighting over family heirlooms. Throw in an episode about a jealous ex-wife and you get an enjoyable read over a really long flight.

81. The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
The stories in this collection explore the fragility of belonging and identity of a people displaced. Take the one about an American sister who meets her Vietnamese half-sibling. To make things worse, their father, who sought refuge in the US, has given them the same name.

Which of these 2017 trends will continue into the year ahead?

82. Return of the unicorn
If you can’t see yourself spending half a day or a bomb at the salon for the hottest Instagram look of 2017 — unicorn hair — there are other rainbow-hued items to delight in: tumblers, beauty products, stationery and even Frappuccino.

83. F&B comebacks
Gong Cha saw a roaring revival of interest following the Taiwanese bubble tea chain’s brief closure and reintroduction to Singapore within the same year. It appears Llaollao is now following suit with its recent retreat from the local market and promise to reopen “very soon”.

84. Optical illusions
Viral internet challenges are taken to a whole new level with the Invisible Box Challenge to displace planking, freezing in place and dumping a bucket of iced water over one’s head. How far will people go to appear to walk on air?

These movies inspired or entertained us

85. Blade Runner 2049
This slick rendition of the future is the follow-up to the first Blade Runner movie, which was made 30 years ago. Taking over the lead from Harrison Ford is Ryan Gosling, whose character sets out to uncover a secret.

86. Beauty and the Beast
From animation, to stage and now movie screen, this tale of seeing beyond a person’s physical appearance never gets old. Emma Watson, who leaves behind her Hermione Granger role in the Harry Potter franchise, steps into the shoes of Belle and gives an outstanding performance.

87. Ghost in the Shell
Another sci-fi movie makes its presence felt. In this movie, Scarlett Johansson is a cyborg super soldier who is out to save the world from the bad guys (they all do). The special effects are worth watching; if not, support actor Chin Han who has put Singapore on Hollywood’s radar.

88. Wonder Woman
The lasso, bullet-proof bracelets and invisible plane are what little girls grew up with in the cartoon series Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot stars as Diana, an Amazon warrior, who leaves home to fight a war. The movie not only empowers women, but propelled the Israeli Gadot to instant stardom.

89. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
This is the sequel to the first Kingsman movie, The Secret Service, and in this we see the protégé taking over from his mentor. It is a tongue-in-cheek spy movie that has all the fancy gadgets — Hollywood has outdone itself in the imagination department. Our favourite scene? The ones with Elton John — who knew he had comedic timing?

90. Dunkirk
This sleeper hit has three Golden Globe nominations: Best drama motion picture, best director of a motion picture and best original score. The story centres on allied troops from Belgium, Britain and France during WWII. Much to our surprise, Harry Styles (from boy band One Direction) can actually act.

91. Pop Aye
Kudos goes to Singaporean director and writer Kirsten Tan for her sensitive treatment of an unlikely friendship between a burned-out architect and an elephant in Thailand. This feel-good movie was screened at the opening night of the Sundance Film Festival and received rave reviews.

92. Ah Boys to Men 4
Jack Neo’s most successful franchise is back for the fourth time to show the good and bad of army life, with sometimes serious and sometimes hilarious results. The boys, done with National Service, are now back in civilian life building careers. They reunite when they report for reservist training.

We test-drove these powerful cars in 2017

93. Audi A3 Sedan
Even with a smaller engine, the Audi A3 does not compromise on performance. The sedan’s 1L engine delivers a smooth, effortless drive on the road.

94. Porsche 718 Boxster S
It may lack the popularity of the 911, but this car’s new look and engine will make you king of the urban road.

95. Audi Q2
The Audi Q2 looks like a small SUV but, on closer inspection, could easily pass for a coupé or even a hatchback. From that perspective, it truly is a crossover vehicle.

96. BMW 420i Gran Coupé
Although the Gran Coupé plays on its sporty image, it is surprisingly practical. Its unique combination of a solid ride, German luxury and upgraded technology makes it a good buy.

97. Audi R8
Audi’s entry into the supercar category is the head-turning Audi R8. The speedster packs quite a punch, though it may exude the feel of an everyday supercar.

98. Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0
This is a worthy consideration for fans of sport utility vehicles. The revamped SUV scores highly in looks, performance, space and tech-savviness.

99. Mercedes-Benz E300
The Mercedes-Benz E300 balances elegance and performance, as it was designed with the executive in mind. It has enough new technology inside to please both new and existing Mercedes-Benz drivers.

100. BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance
This BMW car offers realistic plug-in hybrid technology. It includes all the luxury and comfort of its non-hybrid siblings, but with more sophistication.