All the news over Chanel recently has been of the ad campaigns of Blake Lively advertising the Mademoiselle bag- however, what is really exquisite in my opinion, was Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2011 Haute Couture collection. For one, it featured jeans. Coco Chanel was famous for saying that girls should not be in jeans, but Karl Lagerfeld felt that this reflected what modern girls wear. His inspiration for the show was none other than Blake Lively.
The show featured clothes that for a haute couture show, looked surprisingly wearable. I love the pointed black heels with the plastic see-through ankle strap, the gorgeous black ribbon worn at the necks of the models, the skinny pants with buttons on the side carelessly unbuttoned, to the metallic sheen of the tweed to the beautiful usage of tulle. Everything was astonishingly elegant,graceful and polished. The girls looked ethereal.
Lanvin H & M Show
While snacking on rice crisps today, I watched videos of Lanvin’s latest collections and browsed its e-shop (only open to US customers) – and came across a NY Times interview of Alber Elbaz. He must be the world’s cutest designer. Elbaz has been credited with making clothes that women love to wear, and understanding why women want to wear certain things. I say his clothes also evoke this beautiful sense of effortlessness, as though you didn’t try too hard but look very feminine and polished.Most of all, he recognises fashion is about fun. I have a particular weakness for his things – the ribbons, bows, ruffles, and frills all thrill me.
Through the interviews, you can guess why he has that special touch. Such a cute man- particularly when he steps out onto the runway at the end of the H & M show to thunderous applause. When he said he never stops thinking even after leaving Lanvin’s studio, I thought of how he very nearly faded into oblivion after not being restored as YSL’s head, and how far he has come.
One of my recent acquisitions from Doorstep Luxury was a lovely necklace from Yazbukey Accessories.Yazbukey was created by two sisters: Yaz & Emel, ottoman princesses and descendants of Mehmet Ali Pasha King of Egypt. The world of Yazbukey describes a very playful universe, inspired by old musicals & Gershwin’s music, tales of La fontaine & Grimm, the movies from Hitchcock to Tim Burton.
One of my favourite pieces that I’ve been trying to get my hands on, is the Karl Lagerfeld brooch which is out of stock. Doorstep also has the Lady Gaga brooch, which is beautiful, and I wish I had the spare change to buy that. What I love about the accessories is that it reminds me of pop art: it’s not afraid to have a bit of fun, and can be so irreverent. The accessories play on references to pop culture, and pop culture icons. That tongue-in-cheek reference reminds me so much of Warhol and Lichtenstein.
Go to Doorstep Luxury to have a bit of fun too!
Can I just say that my current major major OBJECT OF LUST is this book clutch? It is oh so perfect for bookphiles like me.
Spotted recently on Diane Kruger at the Berlin Film Festival – it doesn’t quite go with her dress, but the clutch is Divine.
On an average day strolling through Orchard Road, you can count the number of brands represented in the form of handbags. One such ubiquitous bag is the Balenciaga motorcycle bag, which actually has been around since 2001, but is still making its rounds. Part of the reason is that the brand continues to unveil beautiful new colours(this Season’s spring/summer colours are a sight for sore eyes) and new shapes (they now have a tote bag). And there are also plenty of copies of the bags inspired by the BB (not such a good trend).
However, on the runways, you rarely see a Balenciaga bag in sight. The focal point is normally the clothes – after all, Balenciaga was better known as a forerunner in constructing clothes flattering to the women’s shape. This Fall 2010 however, new bags have been featured on the runway.
Looking at the bags, I can’t decide which is worse- the clutch that looks like it has a case of mumps, or the slightly garish mix of colours. The black and white clutch is fairly beautiful, but I still say the motorcycle clutches and bags are much more palatable. At least with the motorcycle bags,the knobs and the mirror and the tassels all made for an interesting mix.
One secret habit I have is poring through fashion magazines and editorials during lazy weekends (when I am not at work, or in the salons while waiting for the hairstylist to trim my hair). It’s a guilty habit I have, because I can be quite obsessive about buying all the different periodicals on the news stand. After some time, you realise that the editorials feature the same events in the Singapore circuit, but you do get the odd occasional interesting piece. As a remedy, I’ve turned to looking at street style blogs to see what people are wearing.
Photo Credit: The Sartorialist
Impossibly chic, and beautifully radiant – these street style bloggers have become the new reference points for style & fashion. While in the past they were relegated to their virtual domains, now street style bloggers are revered for their keen eye, and for their commentary. I have to say though that my favourite ones are still The Sartorialist and Jak & Jil. Both have a fabulous eye for colours that cuts across age, race, nationality. The Sartorialist features men’s fashion quite often, and genteel gentlemen in their dapper suits, but his photos always capture a certain radiance in his subject, or a certain sadness.
Photo Credit: Jak & Jil
Jak & Jil has beautiful close-ups of accessories, and inside shots of the runaway shows.
The street style blogs capture so much beauty and sadness on the streets- real lives in the making.
Now isn’t that far much more interesting than fashion editorials in the magazines?
I was browsing at the Art Section in Books Kinokuniya, like I always do on Saturday, when I chanced on the aforementioned book. The comparison to Fast Food Nation (allegedly responsible for turning away Fast Food Fanatics into Freedom Fighters) made me have some initial doubts, but after googling the excellent reviews(the plus points of having an iPhone + internet on the go), I decided to get it and proceeded to breeze through it for the next 72 hours or so.
Deluxe- How Luxury lost its Luster is less a critique of a billion dollar industry, than an expose of the luxury industry. Thomas’s eye for detail and meticulous painstakingly elaborate research leads her to uncover industry secrets such as the manufacturing of luxury handbags, to sweat factories in China, to the secrets in the counterfeiting trade and anti counterfeiting vice squads to takeover bids mounted (successfully and unsuccessfully) to a luxury emporium right in the heart of Brazil.Rather than make you question the origins of the handbag (though admittedly, the reformed may come away with such a view), the book is remarkably even-handed in its approach.
I have always been innately fascinated with luxury marketing and brand positioning so this book confirmed some of my most basic beliefs of how luxury brands are able to brand themselves apart from the mass market brands in the most subtle of ways. Ironically, the central premise of Thomas’s book is that the luxury industry is in a time of upheaval and the ‘ democratization’ of luxury (as Thomas puts it) to cater to the middle market has led to a consequent drop in quality and workmanship of its products, originally intended for the truly luxe. The potent unanswered question posed at the end when Thomas asks- what happens when the market becomes saturated, what happens when the niche clients decide no longer to patronise their brands, is a compelling one.
But, for those of us who appreciate the luxury (and by luxury, I don’t just mean expensive), the prospect of a luxe-less society seems light years away.