June 30, 2006

SS06 Bags Trend II: White

It's no secret the colour of the season is white. And it certainly is no news that white bags are very 'in' this season. But I have only really gotten into this trend recently myself. It all started after I 'borrowed' (and probably never will be returned) my mum's Marc by Marc Jacobs Fran bag. (See photo above: my Fran bag is the one on the left, but with the white leather and yellow side as shown on the right.) I only truly discovered how pretty and practical it was after I started taking it along to work.

This Dior Gaucho bag was really the SS06 bag I wanted at the beginning of the season. Fortunately, it was so expensive that I didn't buy it -thank goodness because it certainly isn't as practical as the Marc bag, (although it is way more fashionable.)

Miu Miu had a huge selection of plain bags this season, many being white. Some people don't like the huge bag trend this season, but it's so convenient when you're on the run in the summer.

I know a lot of people don't like the new direction Gucci has taken, but I really like it. This bag is very classy, but you would probably need an equally classy outfit to match!

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Prada is a huge trendsetter for the whole white bag trend. This huge Prada leather frame bag is one of its main seasonal bag.

A white nylon with leather trimming bag by Prada. I love how pristine it looks, but I imagine you must be extremely paranoid about where to put it.

This J.Crew tote is perfect for a day to the beach; to the yauht; to the pool...

I'm loving this Urban Outfitters tote, (although I really can't comment much until I see it in real life.) I really want a bag that has both the handles and the extra shoulder strap like this one. This bag is a great combination of being trendy and practical.

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Since I'm on the topic of practical totes, I must mention Tod's. This bag certainly isn't for people who like lots of complicated details, but it's great for those who have very simple taste.

It really isn't only a myth -white bags seriously match 95% of the summer outfits. I am so in love with them now. Just a little reminder: Use a damp cloth to wipe your bag once a week to keep it white.

June 28, 2006

Zara, on Sale?!?

Is it just me, or does Zara very rarely go on sale? Every season, I wait in much anticipation for the usual high street stores to go on sale before I go in and swipe up bargains. Stores like Mango are usually very accommodating and very quickly go up to 70% off. And since I rank Zara in the same category as Mango, I keep on waiting for it to do the same- yet it never does!

While browsing through my first copy of the Economist at the salon the other day, I finally found out the reason for this (one of the few things that caught my eye in the whole magazine).

It appears that this Spanish brand is so fashion forward that while it takes everyone else who manufactures in Asia 6-9 months to get a new design into the shops, it only takes Zara around 5 weeks to do so! Around half of their clothing is manufactured in-house at its base in La Coruna in north-west Spain or by smaller businesses in the same area. The clothing are then delivered by truck to Europe and by air to the rest of the world. In addition, Zara avoids mass production, which helps to keep the store looking fresh, create a scarcity value so we'd buy it now before it runs out tomorrow and to reduce markdowns. The number of marked down items that end up in sale is only about half the industry average. No wonder I've never seen any crazy up tp 70% off sales in Zara!

But I guess that is why we love them- we get to look fresh off the runway without worrying that we'd clash with someone on the streets.

Louis Vuitton FW06 Ads

With all the FW06 ad previews hitting the internet, it took me a while to decide which campaign to talk about first. So I thought I might as well start with the giant -Louis Vuitton. The Vuitton ads this season are all for representing different people -from the English to the Asians. Thankfully, Marc Jacobs continued using models instead of actresses.

Naomi Campbell -Hate this ad. (Probably because I hate the bag and fur hat thingy.)

Kate Moss and Pharrel Williams- OK, can the ads get any more commercial? This set of ads look more like boring catalogue photos than high fashion ads. No wonder big name models had to be used to hype up the ads!

DuJuan and Raquel -I really like how the models are positioned. It kind of looks like DuJuan's head is coming out from Raquel's body! Even though this ad is very obviously selling the bag and necklace, it's still quite artistic.

Daria Werbowy -I like Daria better when she's tanned, but this set of 'pale skin with techno-coloured eyes' ads are definately more creative than the Kate and Naomi ones. Again, the model's position (and the shoe's) are so eye-catching and unique.

I'm a bit confused whether these photos are supposed to be one campaign or two, but with all the brilliant models Vuitton hired, I wish the whole campaign was just a bit more creative. Kate Moss in pale skin and techno-coloured eyes would have been interesting.

June 27, 2006

A Fashionable Pursuit

With the FIFA World Cup going on in Germany, there's been a worldwide soccer craze- at least in my part of the globe it has. Suddenly, it has become fashionable to watch, talk and breathe soccer.

People who normally don't cared a fig for soccer is suddenly staying up til the middle of the night to very enthusiastically watch soccer. By enthusiastic, I mean they are shouting out stuff and reacting as if they know what is going on, when I don't even think most of them know what an "offside" is. Of course, I'm sure there are many of those that actually ARE soccer fanatics and DO know whats going on. But what I'm saying is that soccer has become such a trend recently that there are many who are suddenly loving soccer because it is fashionable to do so and not because of the sport. And this is not limited to normal people. It is even widely spread in the media, where they'd have local pop idols go on soccer TV shows and talk about what they think of the coming soccer game when they clearly have no idea what is going on.

Now I'm not saying I'm not a little bit affected by this soccer fever myself. I just don't pretend to know anything about the sport. For me, soccer is just a bunch of people kicking the ball back and forth. And I am personally vouching for England only because I think David Beckham is hot and after watching a documentary about him on tv just now, I would like to see him lead England to win the World Cup before he retires.
On a side note, soccer stars do have pretty girlfriends/wives who loves to spend their other half's phenomenal earnings on fashion. I would like to say that Cheryl Tweedy (left, Ashley Cole's gf) needs to get a seamless strapless bra. And that something is off with Posh but I can't put my finger on it. Could it be the hair? Or could it be that she just needs to buy food?

Anyway, what I'm wondering is, if this soccer craze is limited to my corner of the globe. Is soccer suddenly fashionable with the rest of the world as well?

June 25, 2006

The Vuitton Antigua

Following the girl in the gorgeous Marc by Marc Jacobs dress the other day, I spotted yet another girl wearing this Vuitton Antigua tote. Although by no means would this Antigua collection be considered new, it just struck me what the perfect bag it is for our SS06 wardrobe.

After all, the SS06 wardrobe is supposed to be of a more sophisticated nuetral palette and nautical. And this Vuitton Antigua bag is definitely both with the beige canvas and the spot of red strap making it interesting.

Another very good color to consider is this off white and brown one. Now THIS is a combination that will match everything.

Plus, this is a great alternative if you want to own a Vuitton bag that is more subtle and doesn't scream Vuitton on every inch of its surface!

June 24, 2006

SS06 Fashion Trend: Suspenders/ Braces

Apart from the trend of dungaree dresses, suspenders have been seen on the runway and in shops. The normal way of wearing is like as seen on the Luella SS06 runway above: a pair of suspenders clipped onto the pants. I really have to say ugh to this trend. It's just so... 90s? Actually I have no idea when suspenders were last in fashion, but suspenders only remind me of those potbelly, middle-aged detectives one would see in TV or read in books.

However, I have to say, the only reason why I am writing about them at all is because they did look wicked cool in the Marc by Marc Jacobs show. Maybe it's because the suspender looked like another layer on top of the many other layers of clothes on the model. Or maybe it's because the belt is only on one side of the model, so the asymmetricalness adds randomness to the outfit, thus making the outfit funkier.

OK, my point is this: I don't like suspenders. Unless you manage to carry them off like a model could and look really good in them, then don't waste your money! There are definately prettier trendy accessories you could spend your money on.

June 22, 2006

Braun Cordless Stylers

The other day when I was having lunch with my little eleven year old cousin, I discovered the cutest thing. She'd curled her hair and I asked if she bought a curling iron and she said yes, in fact she was doing it on her way to lunch on the car. And I was like, what?? On the car?? How??

Then she whipped it out of her tiny purse and showed me this Braun Cordless Styler. It was SO cute! It is just one long curling stick, in this adorable light blue color with a clear lid so you don't get burnt when the iron is cooling down, with none of that long wire hassle. It operates on this thing that looks like some kind of liquid gas, but they call it special energy cells and it supposedly lasts for 8 hrs- although we have not put it to the test yet so I can't vouch for it. What I CAN vouch for is that it heats up quickly and that is actually works. My cousin did it for my hair on the spot during lunch (just a few strands) and it curled just fine! Plus, its cheap. I heard it was only about $30USD.

Maybe I'm just way behind on the technology of curling irons (or too caught up with the T3 tech), but before that, I've never heard of a cordless curling iron before and I'm in awe!

The World's Biggest Shopaholic

Shoppers can apparently be split into two types: recreational shoppers and non-recreational shoppers. "Recreational shoppers', as its name suggests, are people who shop for fun. The "non-recreational" type shop only when they need to.

According to a survey by ACNielsen (an international consumer market research group,) the highest percentage of "recreational shoppers" are in Asia-Pacific. The No.1 countries are Hong Kong and Indonesia, both with 93% of the people surveyed who shop for fun. The U.S. and U.K. have 68% and 34% recreational shoppers respectively.

The survey results actually make sense. Living in a city, such as Hong Kong, there are really little one does in ones free time. In Hong Kong, 90% of the time I go out (non-work related) is for shopping. (By shopping, I could mean all kinds of shopping -window shopping, grocery shopping, target shopping etc.) Because afterall, if I don't go shopping, what else is there fun to do in the city? At least when I was studying in the UK, I could take the occasional weekend trip out of London to visit friends. And when I visit my relatives in San Francisco, I could just ride a bike whenever I want to, but in Hong Kong, one would have to make an effort to go to the countryside.

The conclusion? It is logical that there are more recreational shoppers in city since there is less to do (and a lot more shops and products to choose from.) So my question is, are you a recreational shopper?

June 20, 2006

Scrunch up the Sleeves!

Take a tip from the runway and add cool to an outfit this season by scrunching up the sleeves!

This is an especially convenient trend with all the super long sleeve shirts on the runway used for layering (as in the Luella and Marc by Marc Jacobs above).

Plus, it allows you to skip the hassle of getting the sleeves tailored if your arms are too short for a cardigan. You can look effortlessly cool and still remain ladylike as seen above from Chanel and Diane von Furstenburg.

But we already knew one could scrunch up the sleeves of tees and cardigans. What I had never thought about however, was the scrunching of the sleeves of the blazers as seen on the looks from Laurel above. And I LOVE it, because it allows you to look both put together and effortlessly cool.

So have fun with this little observation everyone!

The Shirt and the Tie

For quite a few seasons now, magazines have reported the trend of girls dressing like guys, ie. wearing shirts and ties together. Now I have never quite understood this trend. I mean, I think it was cool when Avril wore it a few years ago when she was in her so-called punk rock mood. And it's fun when people wear it as a costume, such as in Halloween or themed parties. Honestly, I can't see how this style works in real life but the SS06 runways certainly seemed to like it:

Karen Walker and Lanvin had skinny ties. Very classy and girly.

The ties and shirts are made of exactly the same prints at Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs.

Lanvin makes the ties look professional.

The shirt and tie combination looked cool and casual at Belstaff and Chloe.

Personally, I've only ever worn a tie with my school uniform (that was when I was younger). But casually, I'm way too chicken to try. Anyone here wears ties as normal casual wear?

June 17, 2006

Happy Father's Day

As much as I love my dad I must admit, I hate trying to find a gift for him. I mean, what can he possibly want that I can get him?

I guess one can always stick with the classics. This silk tie from Zegna looks quite nice.

And of course, there is the belt, like this one from Gucci. One can't possibly go wrong with such generic things. (Well, unless you picked out a truly ugly tie).

More practically however, one can get their dad's a leather wallet. My dad uses a Vuitton one similar to this.

Another coveted men's item (I'm told) is leather shoes, especially Tod's and Ferragamo ones. However, my family is pretty conventional with superstitions and giving people shoes and clocks as a present is a big no no-even if they are Tod's/Ferragamo's.

And of course, they do so love the electronics. This set here is a Bose entertainment system. Personally I don't know much about it, so wouldn't know where to begin buying electronics for dad. If this is your inclination, I suggest you ask first.

Another generic gift for men is cologne. I'm not even sure what they are for (is it something they use after shaving?), but I've heard fabulous feedback on Chanel's Allure for men from friends. Although I'm not sure if that apply to dad's. . . .

Men have to take care of their skin too. Last Christmas, I got my dad moisturizer and he actually uses it! Of course, it wasn't exactly from La Mer (although I've heard it works really well on men too), since thats waaaaay out of my price range. But I'm sure my dad wouldn't have wanted such an expensive gift anyway, since ultimately he's paying for it!

Another thing I've bought my dad thats within budget and he loves was a book light, since I know he likes to read. It really is the thought that counts.

This time for Father's Day, I got my dad a classic fit Ralph Lauren Polo. One can never have enough polo's right?

Happy Father's Day!

British Vogue + Teen Vogue July 2006

In a typical month (that is when I'm in school in London,) I read about 4 style magazines: Vogue UK, Elle UK, Tatler and Teen Vogue. Now normally, the July issue of magazines are pretty boring because it's the end of season and it's not time yet to talk about next season's fashion. But surprisingly, this year's July issues have been pretty interesting:

British Vogue has a GORGEOUS cover with Gemma wearing a Prada bra. Isn't it amazing how Vogue always manages to make revealing clothes not look slutty? This photo editorial was shot by Corrine Day.

Also, there is a really interesting feature piece about T-shirts. There is actually more to a T-shirt than you realise. Plus, don't you always find yourself looking for the perfect T-shirt?

Moving on to Teen Vogue. As usual, the writing is not particularly fascinating, and there is an unusually large number of Beauty & Health features in this issue. But there is a fantastic photo editorial on nautical clothes. It shows you how to incorporate normal clothes and ways to style them to look uber chic and casual. So if you're stuck on how to style your clothes, go check it out.

Maybe it's because I've read so many magazines in the past few weeks, that is my normal 4 magazines plus the many I read in the hair salon today. And, I've been shopping and window-shopping quite a lot since I got back to Hong Kong (the sales are on,) so I'm actually quite sick of this season's clothes now. I can't wait for next season to come!

June 15, 2006

Product Fast

I've been using products for the face (face wash, toners and moisturizers) since forever. I don't even remember the time when simple water would do. But the other day, my friend told me that she'd never used any products before (only soap and water) until a year ago when her skin got dried due to the weather in Chicago. That got me thinking, what does the products I use do for me? Do I really need them or am I using it just for the sake of using something?

And so, during my last finals week when I hibernated in my room for 5 whole days trying to write papers and study (I really was rewatching Sex and the City), I went on a product fast. No toner. No moisturizer. Just soap and water.

The end result was that I got a chance to really go back to the beginning and pinpoint what my skin really need- hydration, exfoliation and more hydration. My skin really really lacked water! Another thing that came out of this product fast of mine was that I got to see if the products I am using made a difference or not. I'm happy to report that it does.

So ultimately, I ended up pretty much where I started with in this product fast of mine. But I feel that this experience was totally worth the nakedness I felt in those five days I didn't go through my beauty ritual, because it made me remember the real reason why I was following a beauty ritual everyday. And now I'm not just doing it for the sake of doing it but because I need it.

Natural-Looking Mascara

Since my makeup fast is now over, not to mention I haven't bought a mascara since last summer, I am now in the market for a new mascara. Last summer I was into the whole dramatic eye look. This summer, I've decided to go for the ever elusive natural look. Some inspiration:

I love the natural look from the Derek Lam SS06 runway.

Marc by Marc Jacobs and Lanvin SS06 runways also have fantastic natural looks. To make the face look 'natural' instead of 'plain', lengthening mascara is a must. So I have been doing a bit of research to see which mascara people think are good for everyday use:

The No. 1 favourite mascara for natural-looking lashes seems to be Shu Uemera Mascara Basic. I am very tempted to try this, but at US$27, it was a bit too pricey.

The Shiseido Natural Finishing Combing Mascara is one of the quite-good mascaras I have used before. It's great for lenthening lashes to look naturally long. Unfortunately it wasn't as water/oil-proof as I would have liked it to be.

When I tried the Maybelline Sky High Curves Mascara, I thought it was another quite-good mascara. It gave some length and slight volume, which means the lashes weren't quite natural-looking. But it also left me with racoon eyes at the end of the day.

Another pretty good 'natural' mascara MUA users seem to think is the Clinique Natural Glossy Mascara. This one I'm considering at the moment.

When Lancome L'Extreme was launched last summer, Barneys Girl and I went to try it out, and I thought it was one of the best lengthening mascaras I have ever tried. Obviously my lashes didn't look as amazing as the lashes in the L'Extreme ad, but the lengthening was still pretty darn amazing. So L'Extreme is high up on my possible-buy list.

If you have any favourite mascaras for lengthening lashes and the natural-look, or you have used a mascara I wrote about, please let me know what you think!

June 13, 2006

Summer Lookin'

I'm HOME. That of course, merits some welcome-back-home shopping. So I was sitting in Chanel with my mom and in walks the coolest dressed girl I've seen all day- and she was wearing this dress:

I instantly recognized her dress was Marc by Marc Jacobs because I just bought the hot pink shirt version of this print hours before on sale. And she translated this runway look into streetwear very well. Here is what she wore:

The dress (of course).

And really, the dress is very loose and wasn't meant to be worn by itself like how the model above is. So, she had on Marc by MJ's long skinny sleeved top (in exactly the same shade as shown in this picture) underneath. And yes, although they look very similar here, the two colors do have contrast. Although I think the contrast worked especially well because her complexion was really pale.

In addition to that, she was also carrying this Vuitton Antigua tote and last season's Dior Vintage Flower ballet flats.

I was very impressed that I was able to recognize the brand of everything she was wearing (I bet if I had a close-up I'd also be able to identify her dangling earrings as Dior). But anyway, back to the point, I LOVED the overall look and feel she was emanating. It was effortlessly cool, girly, chic and casual- the perfect street translation of the dress's runway look.