The Weekly Edit

/ Monday, August 8, 2016 /


A pop of red lippy does wonders to your look. Speaking of which, I need to get my hands on these ones from Bobbi Brown... 

Long Leather-Effect Jacket from Zara.




I'm such a rookie with things all pertaining to makeup, but it was love at first sight when I made my first few beauty purchases, including a Smoky Eyeshadow Palette from this brand. I'm guessing a trip Down Under is long overdue? ;) 

Eye Like It Winter Floral Eyeshadow Palette from Sportsgirl


Effortless is a lightweight dress worn over smooth, bronzed, sun-kissed skin. With hair tied up in a loose chignon and a pair of dainty gold hoop earrings, this look is the outfit for days when you want to look put-together despite the weather getting a little too hot for comfort. 

Serefina Striped Dress from Free People



I had been a fan of Australian model Abbey Lee-Kershaw ever since her days as a hippie-haute-couture model for Gucci, particularly because of her distinctive features - between her two front teeth reveals this ever slight gap that suggests a different notion of beauty that one is usually accustomed to, and her gaunt-looking face has always looked weirdly attractive to me. 

She is often spotted in bohemian-esque outfits, so imagine my surprise when she took on something a little brighter with the play of primary colours in one of her latest magazine covers. The end result? Pretty damn perfect, as always. 

Abbey Lee-Kershaw for Sunday Times Style Magazine, from Design Scene

Catch you fellas next week! x

Coveting 'it'

/ Thursday, August 4, 2016 /
Model Gisele Bundchen carries the Givenchy 'Antigona' in the luxury house's Spring Summer 2012 Campaign. 
Image source here.

A few months ago, my friends and I had gone to a luxury goods sale which took place in town. The brands which were on offer were popular to say the least, and some, more so than others. Amongst them included Givenchy (with its star prints, not-so-friendly rottweiler and almost all-black palette) and Tom Ford. Naturally, many of the sale-goers, including ourselves, headed straight to the Givenchy section.

Being the sensible shopper that I was (not sarcasm!), I was quite amused to see about a dozen women clambering to get their hands on the remaining Givenchy Antigona bags on display. With these bags going at over 50% off their original price, the hype that surrounded these babies seemed totally normal.

Except that the bags were in a bright purple shade. Never mind that they were made of suede, either.

As this situation took place before my eyes, I found myself trying to rationalise such a purchase:

  1. A purple bag can't be that bad, right? It could make a bold statement. I'm sure these people have something in their wardrobe that would go great with this bright bag...
  2. Suede is hard to maintain, that's for sure, but that's a small price to pay given that it's an Antigona, no? 
  3. Perhaps I could sell this bag on Carousell if it doesn't grow on me in the next few days? I don't know... I don't have to decide what I'm going to do with it now, do I? Buy first, think later?

As much as I tried, it still didn't make sense to me. In fact, it felt as it I was deluding myself. Shortly after this, I found the situation to be even more fascinating as I overhead a lady telling her friend, "It's the Antigona, babe. Take it, take it, take it."

This fleeting observation has somehow stuck with me even till now, because it made me look at the bigger picture and realise the following:

More and more people (admittedly, including myself) have become 'blind' as to the things that we really need or the experiences which we can gain genuine satisfaction from. Instead, we are reaching out for material possessions that we are constantly told to have or want, simply because they have been marketed to appear so damn coveted, exclusive and life-changing.

Having said that, what makes us covet 'it'? 

The whole obsession with 'it' can stem from numerous factors, but given the context in which I have set for you today in this blog post, I am particularly interested to share about the possible reasons behind our obsession with 'It Bags'.

If you are not familiar with the term, I believe that an 'It Bag' is one which has propelled to cult status due to its stylish design and expert craftmanship, or due to the nature in which it has been presented to the consumer that appears highly desirable.

Let's talk about the latter.

Model Alexa Chung is the face of Longchamp's Spring 2016 Campaign.
Image source here

Case study: Alexa Chung and Longchamp 

Alex Chung is a British model and presenter who's known for her effortless and slightly boyish style of dressing. Often sported in denim, classic Breton-striped tops and the occasional 60's-style mini dress, Alexa is particularly well-known in the US and the UK. She has fronted countless magazine covers and has even recently hosted a short documentary series for VOGUE UK's YouTube channel. But more impressively, her true strength lies in her ability to sell.

With collaborations and endorsements for big names such as Mulberry, Eyeko and denim brand AG Jeans by Adriano Goldschmeid, it appears that whenever Chung is involved, the people and the media are most likely to lap it up, real quick. 

Alexa Chung's influence did quite a number on me, as her ongoing endorsements for Longchamp have actually altered my perception of the French luxury goods company. 

Allow me to explain. 


As long as I could remember, Longchamp was the brand that sensible women would go for. (Read: boring; NOT fashion-forward). My mom had been a fan of the brand ever since the late 90's - her first encounter with the brand was through an ad in a magazine which showcased the brand's line of leather bags, and she was particularly drawn to their quality leather and classic designs. 

While there is no doubt that quality leather bags with classic designs are able to stand constant wear and tear, are these 'features' alone able to constantly appeal to the ever-changing luxury consumer and stand the test of time?

Enter Alexa Chung.

Being the influential style icon that she was, Alexa Chung's association with the Longchamp brand created quite the buzz among the public and people started taking notice of the brand again. When the Longchamp ads featuring Alexa first appeared in some of my favourite glossies, I was pleasantly surprised by the partnership. And pretty impressed too.

As a fan of (admittedly 'younger' and 'cooler') brands such as Valentino, Stella McCartney and Chloe, I found myself drawn to what was previously known as an 'classic' and 'safe' brand, to a brand that had managed to successfully transform into something more youthful and appealing to today's luxury consumer.

To sum it up, the right spokesperson or ambassador can do wonders for your brand's image. Yes, big numbers (such as a person's Instagram and Snapchat follower count) are more 'tangible' ways of determining a person's ability to 'sell', but other factors ought to be included too.

Upon flipping through the latest glossies on the newstands, you'll find the 'Kendalls' and 'Gigis' dominating the ad spaces. Their appeal lies in their 'self-made' celebrity status with their impressive social media following, which mainly consists of young female adults and the fashion-conscious crowd.

Whichever product or new campaign that these new faces attach themselves to, it is almost guaranteed a sell-out and it will remain a hot topic on the Net for the days to follow.

A black leather bag is ordinary. But when the new golden girl in fashion carries it, it now becomes the bag to have for the year.

Now, give a quick think about the latest bag which you had been eyeing recently. How did you come to learn about it? Are you able to pinpoint what exactly about it that makes you covet it so much?

When you reflect on your motivations behind wanting to purchase a certain item, you will soon realise the effects that these 'endorsements', 'celebrity associations' and 'marketing strategies' have played in your decision-making.

The reasons behind a bag's popularity and 'success' that drove it to its 'It' status, are attributed to a variety of factors that those people in the marketing department are more than aware of.

Thoughts?

***

In the mean time, allow me to digress as I pull together some of the most coveted 'It' bags of the recent years, and style them in three distinctive looks.

1. Gucci Dionysus 
This outfit says "Don't talk to me unless you're the UBER driver who's here to pick me up." Fondly referred to as the no-nonsense look. Armed with silver accents and a Smythson notebook because you're that b**** in the office who everyone fears yet secretly aspire to be at the same time.



2. Chloe Faye 
This outfit says "I love emulating the latest trends from the runway but I'm not about that 'Christmas tree' life." Trends done right without coming across as overwhelming for the wearer. The Chloe Faye is an absolute beauty; never mind that it is available in a variety of colours, patterns and finishing. The 70's vibe oozing from this beauty is working for me. Trendy items such as the Stan Smiths are thrown into the mix to prevent the look from looking matronly.


3. Proenza Schouler PS11
This outfit says "I'm dressing for myself. Doesn't matter if my wardrobe choices appear questionable, especially to men." My observation is that 'flared-anythings' don't particularly appeal to the opposite gender as they often prefer 'tight, short and sexy.' The reason why I love this look is because it is the exact opposite of that. The top is more suited for evening wear, but I reckon it looks totally fresh when worn as a daytime look. Playing with proportions is fun, so try your hand at introducing another flared number via a pair of denim bottoms. To top it all off, the scrumptious PS11 provides the finishing touch with its hues of blue, turquoise, green and interesting texture.



Ever come across a celebrity-endorsed product which you actually loved or absolutely hate? Share your thoughts, I would love to know!

The Weekly Edit

/ Monday, August 1, 2016 /
In an attempt to keep this space of mine alive, allow me to present to you The Weekly Edit, where I pick out some of my favourite outfits, styling ideas and inspirations from the World Wide Web. 

Online window shopping is no longer a mindless activity for me now, hurray! 

Love it? Hate it? Can't even be bothered about it? Would love to hear your thoughts. 



A romantic long sleeved printed blouse over a boyish jumpsuit. Plus those shiny heeled boots? 
Pretty fresh. Looks like a winner to me. 

Cynthia Belted Strap Jumpsuit on sale now at Pomelo


Those curly locks a la St. Vincent are making me feel all sort of things, but mostly about how I would end looking like a coffee shop beer lady if I were to attempt said look. Sigh. 

Digging the 70's styling here as well. 

Silky Mini Square Scarf from Urban Outfitters


That cute printed neck scarf adds interest to an otherwise basic outfit. That brings me to Lesson #1: Accessories make a whole lotta difference to your get-up. Just make sure you pick the right ones. 

Peplum Tank Top and Denim Jogger Pants (coming soon!) from UNIQLO.


Print-on-print-on-print sounds like a hot mess when you think about it, but I had a change of mind when I saw this beauty posing in front of an overly-photogenic landscape, looking all relaxed and at home in her get-up. 

Missoni's Autumn Winter 16/17 Campaign starring model Frederikke Sofie, from Design Scene.


Catch you next week. (Fingers crossed!)

Grand Jeté? No, Grand Jetty

/ Wednesday, August 12, 2015 /



Shot by Ayesha Shaikh of Preset Media 

"I brought a book. I'm going to read it during the bus ride," Ayesha texts me the day before we had embarked on a journey to a place that was remote, relatively unknown, and frankly quite beautiful in its own way. This bus ride that Ayesha spoke of was a long (but thankfully not an arduous) one.

Setting off from Toa Payoh with a lime green suitcase and a camera in tow, we reached our destination two hours later. Travelling to anywhere in Singapore usually does not require such a long time given that Singapore is tiny, really. An hour of travelling time sounds torturous enough, so you must be wondering: what is this destination that takes two hours to reach?

Four words: Lim Chu Kang jetty. 

Upon arriving back in Singapore during my university Winter break earlier last month, I'd planned to do a small fashion editorial post but couldn't quite decide on a theme or a location. After much discussion and brainstorming (over bubble tea and prata, no less!) with Ayesha, we decided on Lim Chu Kang jetty as our shoot location. We'd discovered the place by googling "photogenic places in Singapore," and chancing upon the jetty location was quite the love at first sight. 

Compared to most of the places that various online sites had recommended (which looked too bridal/sappy for our liking), we were drawn towards its gritty appearance and remote location. The theme? Something which I was most comfortable and confident in - boyish, or slightly androgynous attire. Believe me when I say I own a couple of dresses and girly skirts in my closet but if you haven't known by now, I'm a boy's girl. Give me a pair of jeans, a loose button down shirt, and a rad jacket and I'm good to go.

Style spotlight: Seventies

/ Thursday, August 6, 2015 /
Hi there! Sorry for the lack of updates - we have so much to catch up on! Truth be told, I've been itching to create some of my own creative content but the ideas never seem to come into fruition.. I have a few ideas up my sleeve, and this I promise to you - it will happen soon, right here on this blog! In the mean time, I'd like to share with you a feature piece that I did for my school assignment this semester.

Building the story 
The looming assignment deadline posed as a major stress factor as I was writing this piece, but I also felt really excited to be writing about something I love - Seventies fashion. For this piece, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tanja Gacic, a Sydney-based blogger at My Empirical Life and online contributor for Vogue.com.au.  I hope you enjoy reading this piece as much as I did writing it. I'll see you real soon. 

Surprise! The Seventies are back and it looks like they’re here to stay. Many remember the Seventies as a decade of change and controversy. It saw the birth of the first ‘test-tube’ baby, the founding of Microsoft and most famously, American President Richard Nixon’s resignation and the Watergate scandal.

The Seventies also played a huge role in shaping popular culture. John Travolta’s hip-thrusting dance moves in the film Saturday Night Fever paved the way to a new disco era; The Beatles’ disbandment broke a million girls’ hearts around the world; and the high waisted bell bottom became a wardrobe staple in every woman’s (and man’s) closet.

As the saying goes: “What’s passed is past.” It isn’t so in this case, seeing that the spirit of the Seventies was brought back to life on the catwalk and on the big screen during the recent years. Fashion houses from Saint Laurent and Chloé to Australian-born labels Bec & Bridge and Zimmermann presented runway collections that paid homage to the Seventies, while films including The Runaways and American Hustle illustrated the prominence of the decade to its viewers.


The Seventies were all about the music, the feeling of freedom, the changes in attitude and world view… What I love most about the Seventies was the fashion.                    
Tanja Gacic, Online Contributor for Australian Vogue 

What exactly made the Seventies so darn fascinating? “The Seventies were all about the music, the feeling of freedom, the changes in attitude and world view… What I love most about the Seventies was the fashion,” shares Tanja Gacic, a Sydney-based creative director and online contributor for Australian Vogue.

For starters, dressing up in the Seventies was more of a form of individual expression than it was about fitting in. Many social movements and protests took place then as people became more vocal about fighting for their rights. The diversification of social groups meant that regardless of the cause that you stood by, you’d have the liberty of expressing yourself through the way you dress.

The hippie culture was one of the strongest youth cultures during the Seventies. Adhering to values like peace, love and community, the hippies practiced what they preached. They were proud advocates of environmentalism back then, hence they lived a nomadic lifestyle by embracing looser clothing and handcrafted jewellery that was made out of feathers and beads. 

Model Suki Waterhouse looks every part the 70's babe in VOGUE Turkey's February 2015 issue
Image source
“The style of the early Seventies was really about wide high waisted trousers and jeans, silk shirting and beautiful knitted blazers. The palette during this period revolved around quite earthy tones so we’re working through colours like chocolates, beiges and stones,” says Sarah Harris, fashion features editor at British Vogue

Music and fashion have always gone hand-in-hand, hence it was no surprise that Stevie Nicks of British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac was known to many as the Queen of ‘hippie-style’. Describing her style as “Bohemian-Chic”, the singer’s signature style revolved around billowy chiffon dresses, layered jewellery and flowing scarves. 

Stevie Nicks

Nostalgia hits hard when one watches Fleetwood Mac’s live performance of “Rhiannon” in 1976. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham’s solo was undoubtedly impressive, but it was Nicks’ powerful vocals and outfit that truly stole the show. As she croons “Rhiannon” into the microphone, Nicks’ shaggy layered hair becomes the centre of attention and the bell sleeves of her dress move ever so dramatically while she dances on stage as if she was in a trance. In an interview with Nylon magazine, Nicks explains: “I realized that wearing a poncho or a long shawl gave me something to work with up on the stage. Big movements, big twirls… you need to be seen from far away. So I made that a big part of my stage clothes. It became totally intertwined in my fashion style.”

The revival of the Seventies hippie style was seen everywhere over the recent years. Singer Florence Welch of English rock band Florence and the Machine bears a striking resemblance to Nicks – both possess soulful vocal styling and a penchant for ankle-length dresses. ‘Hipsters’ at music festivals were spotted wearing flower crowns, crotchet bikinis and suede boots, and the style was further popularised by celebrities such as Sienna Miller, Nicole Richie and Kate Moss. 


I really wanted to capture something confident, but still with a carefree spirit. 
Clare Waight Keller, Creative Director at Chloé 

While these references proved that Stevie Nick’s covetable style was widely celebrated by many, it was French fashion house Chloé that paid the perfect tribute to the singer’s style. During the label’s Fall 2015 collection showcase earlier this year, creative director Clare Waight Keller presented an updated version of the hippie-chic Seventies style that matched the lifestyle and needs of the modern-day woman. Speaking to style.com about the collection, Waight Keller shares: "I really wanted to capture something confident, but still with a carefree spirit." 

Chloé Fall 2015 RTW, Chloé Pre-Fall 2015

Models sported centre-parted locks and sauntered down the catwalk as Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” plays in the background. Airy chiffon pieces were juxtaposed with tailored outerwear, while understated accessories like the leather satchel and ankle boots completed the looks. On the other end of the fashion spectrum, those who weren’t big on joining the ‘Earth-loving’ family turned to a place of glamour for style inspiration. Enter Studio 54: The hottest nightclub in the mid-Seventies that was known for its opulence and excessiveness.

In contrast to the laid-back nature of ‘hippie’ dressing, disco dressing was much more flamboyant. Everything about it was loud – the people, the clothes and especially the music. Comfort certainly wasn’t key in dressing for these club-hopping folks as fabrics such as lycra, spandex and polyester were used for the garments. Judging by the clothes worn back then, it is plausible to assume that these disco-maniacs were firm believers of the saying: “the higher and shinier – the better.” 


The idea of wearing platform shoes, form-fitting sequinned flare pants and over-the-top jewellery all at once sounds like a serious fashion faux pas waiting to happen. Are these seemingly outrageous trends even relevant in today’s context?

The idea of wearing platform shoes, form-fitting sequinned flare pants and over-the-top jewellery all at once sounds like a serious fashion faux pas waiting to happen. Are these seemingly outrageous trends even relevant in today’s context? 

“I believe trends like lamé, disco dresses and bell bottoms can always be made new, cool and contemporary - however a camel toe cannot!” exclaims Gacic. True enough, the grit and glamour of the Seventies disco era was revisited earlier this year by haute couture fashion house Balmain and David O’ Russell’s latest flick American Hustle.

For Balmain’s Fall 2015 collection, creative director Olivier Rousteing showcased jewel-toned separates, accordion-pleated dresses and wide palazzo pants. The liberal usage of fringe, lace and velvet in the pieces further proved that any one of the pieces would look right at home in Studio 54.

Balmain Fall 2015 RTW, Pre-Fall 2015

“This collection was inspired by the Seventies, hence lots of colours including mustard, purple and orange were in my designs. I was excited to introduce new cuts like striped flare pants into the collection. What I love about the Seventies is the freedom of discovering and the freedom of loving what is different,” shares Rousteing in an interview with Style.com. 

On the less literal front, the costumes in crime-drama flick American Hustle presented a much more tasteful depiction of the Seventies disco era. Amy Adams’s character dons cleavage-baring jumpsuits, sequinned dresses and outlandish fur coats in the film. Jennifer Lawrence’s character on the other hand sports a halter neck gown and favours silk jersey wrap dresses.     


There's something so exuberant and expressive about clothes from the Seventies that just really appeals to me. There’s a sense of fun, the prints are loud, the fabrics are stiff, and the lines are exaggerated… 
Michael Wilkinson, Costume Designer of American Hustle  

There's something so exuberant and expressive about clothes from the Seventies that just really appeals to me. There’s a sense of fun, the prints are loud, the fabrics are stiff, and the lines are exaggerated… It was a pleasure to be around them,” says Michael Wilkinson, costume designer of the Oscar-nominated film. 

American Hustle

In order to emulate the provocative styles of dressing during the disco era, Wilkinson looked to fashion designers including Roy Halston Frowick and Diane von Furstenberg for inspiration. “I mixed high-end vintage designer pieces - Halston, Gucci, Diane von Furstenberg, Christian Dior and Ozzie Clark - and custom made costumes, combining strong dramatic lines with soft, sensual fabrics,” shares Wilkinson.

“Halston turned fashion on its ear in the over-accessorised sixties by blending simple, pared-down silhouettes with the most luxurious fabrics,” shares Patricia Mears, deputy director of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. 

As for von Furstenberg, she came up with a design so versatile that women could go straight from the office to the dance floor. Known as ‘the wrap dress,’ the design has since been worn by countless celebrities till today such as Oprah Winfrey and Katherine Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. When asked about the reason behind the creation of the wrap dress, von Furstenberg replied: “Well, if you’re trying to slip out without waking a sleeping man, zips are a nightmare.”

That being said, Halston’s minimalistic approach to fashion and von Furstenberg’s understanding of woman’s sartorial needs both created a huge impact in fashion during the Seventies disco era. 

“All in all, the Seventies gave us so many trends. It's really not a unified era style-wise. We saw new tech fabrics, leisure suits, flares, turtlenecks and dancing queen dresses…When you look at the trends at the beginning of that era, compared to the end… really, a lot has happened. Be it tomorrow or a few years later, designers will always revisit key design ideas - especially ones as varied as the Seventies brought us!” shares Gacic.

By the looks of it, it seems pretty evident that the world is ready to embrace the return of the Seventies with open arms. Then again, has it ever really left?
 
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