SJP IN THE EAST: For days, teasers proliferated the Facebook page and Twitter of leading Philippine department store chain SM, asking “Guess Who’d Love to Shop at The SM Store Aura?” It turned out to be Sarah Jessica Parker, who left her punk princess mohawk in New York and arrived two days ago in Manila, make-up free and dressed casually for the tropical weather.

She came as guest of honor and the global face of The SM Store Aura, a new next-generation premium retail concept from the country’s mall development giant, SM Prime.

SM Aura is heralded as a civic center, with a total floor area of 2.7 million square feet, comprising a 1,000-seat concert hall, a mall and an office tower built to a high standard of environmental sustainability.

Parker was chosen as brand ambassador for SM Aura, according to Millie Dizon, senior vice president for marketing, because “her style is experimental and unparalleled. She can wear clothes as diverse our fashion collections.” SM is the local franchise holder for such brands as Forever 21 and Uniqlo. Among the other international brands making their debut in the country via SM Aura are Suiteblanco from Spain, Stefanel from Italy, as well as BB Dakota, J Lindberg, River Island and Farah. In addition, there is a Todd English Food Hall on the premises.