Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Klose Encounter with Kevin Kwan

I read Crazy Rich Asians in one night. No, make it from midnight to almost 4 am.

I had the mistaken notion of reading it during bedtime, thinking it was book that will help me go to sleep, after a long day taking care of two kids, and a mundane day of running errands, and doing some writing. But no.

It was a complete and utter page turner. I was caught up in the world of Astrid, Rachel, Nick and the cast of characters they call family and friends, that I found myself flipping through page after page after page, until I reached the very last. Which left me wanting more and had me pondering, "Who is Kevin Kwan? And where does he get all these fantastical ideas for a story?"

Thanks to Chris Yam Daez of Fully Booked, I found out soon enough.
When Chris told me that Kevin Kwan was coming to Manila to sign books, I knew I had to go. The same way every Kevin Kwan fan in Manila decided it was an event they weren't going to miss.

I had it all sorted out. I told my husband I was going with my good friend Maymay Tan way in advance, I would leave my three kids at home, have my books signed, and maybe ask Kevin if there's a real life Astrid living the painfully chic Astrid life.

On the day of the Crazy Rich China Rich send-off at Salon de Ning, Maymay and I came prepared, books on hand.

Kevin being welcomed by the evening's host Tim Yap, and Chris Yam Daez of Fully Booked

As we waited for our books to be signed, we listened intently to Kevin's Q&A with fashion journalist Bambina Olivares-Wiser who peppered him with all the juicy questions I would have wanted to ask myself.

 Bambina asking all the questions we've always wanted to ask

Some meaty tidbits: Kevin moved to the U.S. when he was 12. He studied at Parsons and worked in fashion (hence the knowledge about all the designers and labels written in the book), and he's related to the actress Nancy Kwan.

What's more, while the lifestyles of Colette Bing and and Kitty Pong were irrationally crazy and exuberantly rich as is, Kevin shared the plots in the books have actually been toned down because the reality is crazier!

Which gives new meaning to the term, "beyond my wildest dreams", come to think of it.

But enough about the the book, and more about my encounter with the author. Little did I know I would have my own fashion moment with Mr. Kwan that night.

As I stepped up the platform to have my books signed, I sank into the seat across him and we exchanged pleasantries. I rambled on about how big a fan I was, and how I barely slept a wink when I first read Crazy Rich Asians. He nodded politely, used to the babble of starstruck fans. As he was about to sign, I told him that even my husband enjoyed the book, and "Could you write it out to Harvey, please?"

A he scribbled on the title page he said, "That's a gorgeous accessory, who is it by?"

Taken by surprise, I held up the minaudiere on my lap and asked, "This one?"

"I was looking at your necklace, but wow that's gorgeous too!" he replied.

"These are both by Filipino designers", I excitedly blurted out. "This one is made in Cebu", I added, still clutching my minaudiere by Cebuano designer Neil Felipp.

He was genuinely impressed I suppose, that he asked if he could take a photo of my clutch.

Maymay managed to get  photo of Kevin taking a photo of my Suzy Wong minaudiere, woot!

 "Sure!" I replied, thrilled that he even noticed.

"May I tweet it, I mean post it online?" he asked.

"Of course!" I said a little too excitedly.

Kevin did post it on his Instagram!

Then he writes "For Tin (With the gorgeous accessories) Kevin". OMG.

Wow, diba?

To have my books signed that evening was a real treat, but to have Kevin Kwan himself notice Filipino design that evening? Priceless.

I would lie if I say I didn't feel a little bit like Astrid that night.


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