November 29, 2006

Nara Camicie

In Milan, besides Prada stores everywhere, on every other street there are also stores by this brand called "Nara Camicie" everywhere. Intrigued by the display, we went in and found a gem for dress shirts. They had them in every cutting and color, with chic variations that are just to die for. Turns out, this Italian brand has been specialising in dress shirts since 1984! My friend and I ended up each buying this one dress shirt (her's in black and mine in white) with a built in wrap-around thing, which is super cute. The only complain I have about it though, is that it wrinkles very easily. But I guess I can't expect too much since it IS relatively inexpensive for Milan standards. They don't have a picture of it available on their website (turns out they are available worldwide), so I can't show you guys. But here are a few pieces from their collection that I like:

This is what I like best about them: they transform the classic dress shirt into something more unique while still keeping the clean cut classic quality of a dress shirt.

Their take on frills is also refreshing, adding a soft feminine touch to the crisp shirts.

In addition to dress shirts, they also make more elaborate things that are quite pretty.

Although I must admit, some of their stuff are way over the top and borders on tacky. I guess, we'd just have to sift through all the sand to get the the gems!

FW06 Bag Trend: The Hip Ones

Before I start ooh and ahhing, I want to emphasise that these bags are this season's hip bags, the cool ones. Note that these aren't IT bags. People always want to know which bag is the IT bag, and magazines /websites like to claim a bunch of bags as the IT bags of the season. But the real deal is, there are very very few IT bags and you'll know if a bag is IT. Think back to the days of the Motorcycle, the Paddington and the Stam.

Anyways, so these are some of my fav cool bags this season:

Botkier -Bianca. Not counting Lindsay Lohan pap photos, the first time I saw this bag was in NY Barneys, where the girl in front of me in line was carrying the Bianca medium in brown. I was like, I really like this bag, and went into a Botkier-online-ogling-frenzy phase.

Chanel -This Chanel supersized bag is one of the few Chanel bags that I actually feel is great for young people. Can you just imagine: a girl in black/grey skinny jeans, ankle boots, huge black shades and this simple but uber cool bag. Oop, I might have just described Kate Moss.

Kooba -Carla and Lena. Kooba bags in general give off a more bohemian vibe. So not all Kooba bags are my thing, but I do like these two. They give off a really relaxed vibe (if that makes sense.)

Miu Miu -Vitello Paggy Shoulder Bag. I saw a girl in a very casual outfit -cute shorts, a tee and black shades -carrying this bag back in the summer, and I stared at her for awhile. The bag is so cute and practical. Actually, I like most of Miu Miu's bags this season, but I already squealed about them to my poor, patient (and loyal reader) friend.

Balenciaga -the Motorcycle bag trascends seasons. While it may not be an IT bag anymore, it's still super cool and edgy. I do love how gorgeous the leather is and how light and practical it is. You can tell by the fact that after a few seasons, the young stylish girls, that's MK and Nicole, are still carrying it.

Chanel -A new young stylish girl fav this season (which will probably go on) is the small Chanel classic-looking bag. I've always thought these Chanel bags look old, but the girls sure carry the bags well and look cool.

November 28, 2006

FW06 Trend: Winter Hats

I was about to devote a blog on how much I love all the winter beanies just floating around everywhere this season and recommend a few that I liked. But then I went out and tried on a few and it occured to me that winter beanies are just about the hardest thing for anyone to wear- especially the ones this season! They looked so different on me than on the mannequin (and the next girl) that I realised that one simply cannot tell from pictures whether a hat is cool of not.

Even here on the Burberry Prorsum runway, the same hat looks so different from one model to another. It looks SO much better on Gemma (left) than on Hye Park (right). Maybe its the head shape, I have the same problem. I found a similar hat and it looked awful on me, which is just too bad, because this picture of Gemma is what inspired to me write this blog and go look for a cool slouchy looking beanie like that to begin with. Perhaps I haven't found the right one yet?

Other hats from Burberry Prorsum. She looks cute with that navy ridged beanie with a cap thing (left) but I can't quite see it looking good on people in the streets. Sasha (right) looks kind of scary here, but its probably just her expression. That beanie doesn't look too bad on her.

On the Marc by Marc Jacob's runway we have these wider rimmed hats. I rather like the wide rimmed beanie thing he has there (left). She looks effortlessly cool there. Then there is the patent leather fisherman hat thing (right). It looks alright, but I think I've gotten over the whole fisherman hat thing back a few years ago and am not ready for it to come back yet.

And these two pictures are the ones that sometime makes me doubt whether the designers have tried the whole outfit on the model properly before letting them on the runway. Because she looks dreary and childish with that droopy white hat (left: burberry prorsum) usually seen on an enfant and she just looks too old to be wearing that cutesy cap thing(right: J Mendel).

And some trends are just destined to remain on the runway. I love the Balenciaga FW06 collection and all, but if I see someone on the streets wearing this, I will laugh so hard.

November 26, 2006

This Week HG is Loving...

2 Things this week: Ashley Olsen at the Teen Vogue cover party and Nicole Richie's brunette do.

Ashley looks absolutely AMAZING. That Calvin Klein dress is so sheer, so hard to look good in, and she managed it. And very importatnly, she managed to look sensual, as opposed to slutty, in that rather revealing dress. (It could be that the CK dress was simply extremely well designed too.)

I'm still undecided on her new dark brunette do though, so hopefully there'll be more photos of her soon.

Nicole's brunette locks may be less glam than her previous blonde one, but I'm loving the stylish edge it gives her. I've always wondered, how does she achieve those perfect bangs? Must be a lot of hairspray for them to stay in place!

Since we're talking about Nicole, for those who are out of the loop, Nicole fired Rachel Zoe and hired a new stylist this week. It's not exactly the most grateful thing for Nicole to do, afterall, Rachel Zoe did transform her from a rather trashily-dressed, BFF of Paris Hilton, to the ever-fashionable, stylish Nicole, whom we all look upon now (for style inspiration). But Nicole fired Zoe to get rid of bad influence, so that's definitely a good thing. Look out to see if Nicole's 'style' changes!

November 25, 2006

BG's Paris Diary: Week 8

Since there has been an overload of "Paris Diaries" lately, I figured I'd make this one more focused. So this week, I am going to concentrate on the shopping in Paris. Personally, I like my shopping focused so I can compare easier and know that everything is from a reliable source, hence I like department stores.

And what does one think of when one thinks of department store and Paris? The Galleria Lafayette of course! According to my guide, it was the second department store in the world (since Marshall Fields claimed to be first, but I'm not too sure about that). Anyway, the point is, that it is so famous that it is practically a tourist attraction in itself. Although I don't think the clothes in there are that great. They're ok, but nothing worth braving the crowd for. And when did Hello Kitty become a fashion brand???

I prefer Printemps next door more. Their contemporary designer section is better. And it is less crowded.

But my favourite department store of all is Bon Marche. It is like the Barneys of New York. The atmosphere there is more upper-scale, elegant, relaxed and well. . Parisian!
Plus, they have the most fabulous shoe collection. I absolutely adore everything! I am considering getting this pair of grey ankle boots (circled on the left). It has a bit of a platform, has a perfectly rounded pointy toe and I love the fold. Thoughts?

Steet shopping wise, I haven't done much of it, but one of my favourite streets is Rue de Juillet where Colette (a super trendy store that sells make-up, cd's, clothes, shoes, phones and has a cool "water bar" that has a gazillion different types of water from around the world in adorable bottles), Sandro and a few other French fashion brands are. Right next to the Tuileries metro stop, it is super convenient and is also near a street full of restuarant/bars and boasts a delicious rotisserie chicken place called, "La Poularde Saint-Honore," which I adore. Other great areas to walk around for fashion is Saint Germain des-Pres and Saint Sulpice.

So these are basically all the areas I've hit so far. Any other suggestions?

November 24, 2006

Mademoiselle Parasuco

Its Thanksgiving! Too bad they don't celebrate it over here in Paris, because even though this is a fairly new holiday for me to celebrate, I still miss the turkey. And the holiday. Anyway, today we are going to introduce you all to Mademoiselle Parasuco collection by Parasuco. Created by two Canadian designers: Salvatore Parasuco & YSO Siphay Southidara, it is simple, elegant, feminine, wearable and yet still unique and refreshing. Here are a few of the pieces:

Perfect for in and out of the office.

Different but still very wearable.

These two looks are my favourite, because they're just so cool and girly. I WANT that black shirt and culottes! They look good together and I can totally imagine them to match perfectly with things in my wardrobe.
And isn't this coat adorable?

You can find all this and the rest of the collection at their flagship store in NYC and the Westfield San Francisco Centre. Doesn't the rest of the store look so chic?

In addition to this gorgeous collection, Parasuco also makes denims. And for those who were complaining last year about the lack of worthy things to buy on Black Friday here is our Thanksgiving present to you: from Nov 24-26th they are having a 20% off regularly priced merchandise from any of their collections in both their locations.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

November 22, 2006

FW06 Trend: Ankle Boots

This season they amp-ed up the classic ankle boots usually worn under jeans (for me anyway) to a fashion must have designed to be seen! On the Stella McCartney runway (left), she cut out the front to form cute half heels/half boots worn with stockings. And on the Versace runway (right), they cleverly cut out a bit on the side to reveal footless stockings!
Other more innovative designs out there include these Alexander McQueen (left) kick back ankle boots, which I think has a weird slanted heel (is that physically safe?) and these funky Report Signature (right) ankle boots from Shop Intuition.
My favourite ones are these two from Miu Miu (left) and Paul and Joe (right). I love the perfectly rounded toes and the adorable designs. I want them both!Then there are these darling soft grey slouchy boots from Urban Outfitters (left) and green pointy boots with a v from Roberto Cavalli (right).
I also like these ankle boots with what looks like scoop necks. It makes them look so chic! I especially like the design of the Steve Madden one (right), it looks so elegant! (left: Nine West)

For something less adventurous, more versatile but still trendy, try these more subtle styles from Christian Louboutin (left) and Shop Intuition (right). They can be both worn to be seen or under jeans.
And of course there are the platform ankle boots which are absolutely everywhere. These ones are from Pedro Garcia (left) and Steve Madden (right).As I said, these boots were made to be seen. Here are some ideas as to how:

  • With short sweater dresses/short winter shorts and tights- this one is my favourite way. (left)
  • With skinny jeans- I do that a lot with my classic ankle boots too (right)

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  • With tight rolled up jeans- this is probably best if you were tall (left)
  • With cropped pants (center)
  • And just right out with a skirt or shorts!

I can’t wait to go home to my funky ankle boots and try all this out!

November 21, 2006

BG's Paris Diary Week 7: Part II

So to finish off my week 7 diary, here is an account of Venice and Geneva.

After a 3 hour ride in a cabinet styled train (as in Anastasia- unfortunately they are not as cool as it looked in the movie) we finally reached Venice where water was everywhere. How gorgeous is this picture of sunset in Venice (right)?
Everything was so pictueresque, especially the gondolas. Unfortunately, we didn't go on them because they were a whooping 100 euros for 45 minutes. Besides, I've already been on it before, I'd rather have a pair of boots. On the left, we have a picture of the "Bridge of Sigh." And no, it is not as romantic as it sounds, because it is the bridge where prisoners used to pass through on their way to prison or to executions. Other touristy things to see is the Basillica of San Marco (left) and the Palace of the Doges (right). I love how the architecture in Venice is so different from that of Paris and Milan. In times of high tide, the piazza (left) is actually flooded and gondolas can actually float on it sometimes. I know, hard to believe. When we saw the postcard pictures, we thought they were computer edited! Oh and that lamp post was where we took a twirling around the lampost picture :P.
So again, all the touristy things were basically concentrated in the San Marco Piazza area where we lived. While the piazza looks pretty, in real life it is not quite so. The floor is slippery even though it didn't rain, because of the excess amount of pigeon poop on the floor. Pigeons were everywhere. We saw them all sitting on the ledge in the morning (left) and the amount of them was terrifying. People should stop feeding them (right).

Another place to go to in Venice is the island of Murano, where the glass factories are located. There, you get to see them blow glasses. George (left) here was fabulous. He made a vase in 5 minutes and literally pulled a horse out of that burning red thing with a few clever moves. These excursions are usually free because they want you to buy something from them afterwards and everything is super expensive. Red glass (right) is most expensive because the coloring is made of gold. And that purplish/brown color last one on the right is the official Venetian color. For cheaper options they have some "second rate" glass work around which are not too bad.
Another very Venetian thing to buy is masks. They have them in all shapes and prices. There were some very intricate and gorgeous ones. But I settled for a simple white and gold half mask . . maybe for halloween?
Our next stop, which took a grueling 6 hours train ride to reach, was Geneva. Highlights in Geneva include this Jet L'eau spring thing (left), this clock (right)(the missing numbers of the clock are on the outside). .
. . and the United Nations headquarters. Unfortunately they blocked off this official entrance, so we could only take pictures from this angle (left) and had to go in the back way. A tip for anyone planning to go in as a group, enter seperately, so they'd give you your own visitors badge with your picture on it. A great free souvineer. There we took a tour and saw a PEACOCK just wandering freely on the grounds. It was bizarre. Turns out the land used to be a peacock garden owned by the originally owner.
So really, Geneva is not much of a touristy spot. One day is more than enough to see everything. What they are more known for however is watches. All the famous brands are here: Patek Phillipe, Rolex, Charriol, Piaget, Swatch. . . . you name it. Although they are all very expensive of course. Oddly enough, Swatch was actually more expensive there too! In the end, we ended up with engraved Swiss Army knives to bring back home.

And that concludes my 7th week diary. Overall it was an awesome experience, but my favourite places were Milan and Lugano. Milan because it was just so much fun. And Lugano because it was so different from places I usually go to. Getting to drive a speed boat in the middle of a beautiful lake (even though it wasn't going too fast) was definitely memorable ;).

3rd Annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Prize

I admit I have watched most of Season 2 and 3 of Project Runway. But unlike majority of the viewers, I'm definately not a fan of the show. Also, I had only ever watched 10 minutes of America's Next Top Model before, and I surprisingly hated it.

To me, fashion-related reality shows are great entertainment, but don't do much to contribute to the fashion world. Awhile ago, I read an article that had Anna Wintour say something I really agreed on. It was something along the lines that, Project Runway actually approached Vogue before Elle, but Vogue felt that the reality show wouldn't do much for new designers. Instead, Vogue and the CFDA have an annual fashion fund prize to help outstanding new designers. Now this is actually useful.

So this year's ten finalists are 3.1 Phillip Lim, Costello Tagliapietra, Devi Kroell, Doo.Ri, Jovovich-Hawk, Marchesa, Rag & Bone, Rodarte, Subversive Jewelry, and Thakoon. I'm sure you've heard of most of these names before.
At the Prize ceremony /party:

Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenburg, who recently became the chairwoman of the CFDA.

Left: Ashley, Marc Jacobs and Mary Kate. Right: Michelle Williams and Derek Lam.

Past winners of this award, Proenza Schouler. -See what I mean, you've actually heard of them in a high-fashion capacity.

Two nominees: Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig of Marchesa (left). Who hasn't heard of Marchesa? Marchesa dresses are absolute favourites of young Hollywood stars at the moment.
Milla Jovovich and Carmen Hawk of Jovovich-Hawk (right). Jovovich-Hawk had really pretty boho-ish clothes in its SS07 collection. And do check out the website -lovely styling.

Runner ups: Thakoon (left). Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte (right).

*Drum roll* And the winner is...

Doo-Ri Chung! I was surprised Philip Lim, whose clothes are so loved by the social crowds, didn't get into the Top 3. Anyways, here are my 3 fav looks from Doo-Ri SS07 collection:

So young and pretty...