February 29, 2008

The Limited Edition 2.55

The luxury retail market is always coming up with gimmicks and limited edition goods to lure customers into buying more and more.
Chanel's latest Limited Edition product, is this 2.55 in honor of the Chanel Mobile Art Exhibit. Now this may look like any old 2.55, but for once in fashion, the beauty lies on the inside.
Inside the flap to be specific. Inside the flap, is this signature by the legend of fashion himself, KARL LAGERFELD, commemorating the Mobile Art Exhibit in Hong Kong. Logic tells me that Chanel is trying to rip people off, because the scribbling of a few words inside the flap is certainly NOT worth the premium they are charging for it over the standard 2.55's. A mere signature does NOT bring one closer at any level to the author of the signature. The red/orangey color isn't even that complimentary!

But the fashionista side of me is in AWE that I have been able to get so close to and even trace Karl Lagerfeld's signature. I admit, I might have even let out a tiny squeal of delight. A little like what Victory Ford felt when she found Coco Chanel's dress form in Lipstick Jungle (though of course, this is not QUITE as cool nor meaningful, since I know nothing about designing and making clothes). I know this reaction is probably completely illogical and against my better judgment since it is obviously a marketing ploy to make more money for Chanel, but oh, I just can't help it! :)

And I can't wait to go see the exhibit! Its fully booked this weekend, but I'm definitely going next week! Report back!

February 28, 2008

Paris Fashion Week F/W08 Wrapup I

This is why Paris Fashion Week is THE fashion week I look foward to the most. I mean, if I'm not going to be able to afford anything on the runway, I might as well ogle at the most creative and gorgeous collections, starting with Balenciaga.
Genius. Seriously genius. Once again, Nicholas Ghesquiere used Balenciaga's history and created a very modern collection. The clothes all look very structured yet still so sensual.
The show started off with minimal, well-cut and structured evening dresses. Take note of the shoes: pointy shoes are back! Is the trend with round-toed shoes soon to be over?
These are the more work-suit looks. I hope those tulip skirts become part of the mainstream trends, (and hopefully high street retailers will be 'inspired' to make affordable versions!)
Metallic, shiny dresses are nothing new. But the shapes of these dresses are amazing.
The velvet top with skinny pants/ skirt combo seemed to be a huge favourite. I love how pretty the colourful tops are. And the black & white velvet top look is just amazing with the black eye makeup! Seriously loves it!
The show closed with printed coats and dresses. While I can appreciate how these artistic pieces form part of the collection, I have to say I'm not a huge fan of the coats. For example, the coat on the left makes the model look like she's got a muscular costume on.
Can't wait for more Paris fashion! Did you love the Balenciaga show too?
Image credit: www.style.com

February 27, 2008

Swarovski Necklaces

I've always had the impression that Swarovski jewelry were either not very interesting looking or so loud that it bordered on gaudy. However, recently I've had a change of mind. Suddenly these delicate, simple, elegant looking necklaces that I used to find "not very interesting looking," looks very attractive indeed. This has mostly been due to this recent TV show I watched, where this character in it pairs all her very chic work outfits with these very elegant and sleek looking necklaces, which I later found was sponsored by Swarovski. Intrigued, I looked up more of these necklaces and realized that while they are not super loud and ultra trendy, they are the perfect accessory for a smart work outfit. They are subtle and elegant, but are still very pretty and feminine- perfect for work.
Trendy elements are also subtly added to their designs, such as above.
This chained necklace is one of my favourites (left). The design is simple and elegant but still makes a statement. And this gorgeous purple crystal necklace (right) is just the thing to brighten up the usual dreary colors of work clothes in a quiet way. I can just imagine it looking fabulous, with a plain black suit and white shirt paired with simple diamond (or crystal!) earrings and subtle purple eye shadow!

Image Source: Swarovski

February 26, 2008

Oscar's Fashion 2008

To everyone-who-actually-enjoys-looking-at-glamorous-stars-in-gowns' relief, Oscar's wasn't cancelled. Stars went all out (in terms of the sizes of the gowns) this year as the Golden Globes ceremony was cancelled. This year, the main trend in the gowns were huge, black or red gowns, and empire dresses for the pregnant. The dresses were all pretty 'safe'. I'm going taking note of the dresses I liked here:
My favourite dress of the night was probably Cameron Diaz's Dior dress. Yes, it's not a particularly exciting dress, but I'm a fan of the fabric folds. It's simple, well-designed and pretty. And while it's arguable whether her makeup is too simple for Oscar's, I really like how she sticks to her natural-beauty style.
A trend seemed to be the long, simple dress + big necklace combo. Both Nicole Kidman (in Balenciaga) and Keri Russell (in Nina Ricci) looked very elegant. I thought Keri Russell's dress' colour looks really etheral on her, and the necklace is just a perfect match.
Black was one of the two popular colour choices, and huge gowns were equally popular. I thought the best was Hilary Swank's Atelier Versace gown, with Penelope Cruz's Chanel Couture coming in second.
The other popular colour choice was red. Katherine Heigl looked gorgeous as usual. However, I am getting a bit bored of her old Hollywood look, and her makeup seems a bit overloaded (-the blush).
Heidi Klum's vampy dress was comparatively interesting and she was equally gorgeous (in a slightly different way.)
The Marchesa girls: Anne Hathaway looked really pretty. I like how the dress is one-shouldered in an interesting way, especially the way the fabric looks like it falls and wraps around her arms so perfectly. As for Jessica Alba, she looked pretty (hard to imagine her not looking pretty), but she could probably have done better.
The two people who actually chose interesting dresses were Cate Blanchett, who wore Dries Van Noten and Marion Cotillard, who wore Jean Paul Gaultier. I love how the JPG isn't only shaped like a mermaid, but it also has silver 'scales' on it, and the dress didn't look like a costume. Not surprisingly, Marion Cotillard's dress was many critics' favourite.
If you've read my thoughts above, then you'll probably notice that I wasn't overly enthusastic about the dresses. They're weren't bad, but just not stunning or surprising. Whose dress was YOUR favourite?

February 24, 2008

How Often Do You Wash Your Hair?

NYT's Thursday Style Section has a rather erm, weird article called, Of Course I Washed My Hair Last Year (I'm Almost Certain). It basically describes a beauty phenomenon in which people don't wash their hair anymore, or at least more infrequently. The article has interview quotes from various people and the reason for not washing their hair include things like, it's more convenient and fun to get it washed and styled professionally once a week (obviously a girl,) or that oily hair has more shine and texture, and finally, shampoo is evil and is a part of the evil consumption plan. The writer also explains that 'textured locks and full hair' are now in vogue again (compared to straigtened hair,) and that dry shampoo sales are up.

The main reason why I called the article weird is because it is very one-sided. The whole article had two short paragraphs about scientists being sceptical about this. (I'm not a good writer myself, but I'm clearly a product of an education system that has brain-washed me into writing pros and cons for everything.) Anyways I want to say, first of all, the people who get their hair washed once a week must not have super oily hair because I know girls who wash their hair in the morning, and by night it already looks oily. By the next day, said girls would look like they've got 80's-era type of hairgel combed in. Secondly, isn't part of the reason we shampoo is to get rid of the dead skin cells that are already littered around in our hair, ie. dandruff? Unless you have white hair, dandruff is probably visible to anyone who is near you. And doesn't dandruff fall onto your black coats?

And there are other things that I don't get. For example, in the middle of the article, there is an interviewee who washes her hair every seven days. In between the days, she uses dry shampoo, blots and combs. And to her advantage, she can now get ready in 30 minutes instead of 2 hours of shampooing, drying and styling. Talk about extreme. I'm sorry but if you really thought taking 2 hours to get yourself ready is too long, couldn't you just shorten it?

Clearly, that interviewee has been out of universtiy life for too long. On the days that I do wash my hair, it takes me 30-40 mins to get ready (-This includes brushing my teeth, taking a shower (includes hairwash and facewash), applying body cream, throwing on jeans and tee, applying skincare products, styling my hair and putting on makeup.) And even I don't think I'm fast enough. Now don't get me wrong, I try not to wash my hair everyday because I really do think it prevents my hair from going dull. I have always been an every-other-day type of gal, (although I do sometimes wash the front/fringe bit everyday.) And on the days I don't leave home, I can go through a couple of days with dirty hair. Usually by the 3rd day, my mum tells me my hair smells and I should wash it, of which I ignore her until I have to actually go out. So hey, most people who know me well think I'm lazy about my hair-washing too, but even I think completely abadoning shampoo is not the way to go. I'm all for people washing their hair as frequently or infrequently as long as they don't smell.

Questions for you are, how often do YOU wash your hair? And what did you think about the whole not-washing-your-hair 'trend'? Opinions wanted!

February 21, 2008

Hemorrhoid Cream for Dark Circles?

No matter how long I sleep, I seem to have permanent eye bags and puffiness. So a while ago, my mom suddenly very excitedly called me and told me that I should go buy myself some hemorrhoid cream for my eye bags. And I was like, WHAT? She swore that she saw it on a beauty TV show, hosted by quite a reputable dermatologist, and that everyone used it. Disbelieving, I told her if it truly worked so well, they'd have made that into a proper eye cream by now. Then the other day, I was re-watching Miss Congeniality (one of my favourite movies!) and I've never noticed before, but in the scene where she was preparing for the swimsuit competition, Victor (her pageant consultant) hands her a tube of hemorrhoid cream, and she says,

"Hemorrhoid cream? Do you really think they'll be looking that closely?"

And he replies, "Its for your eyes bags."

This made me think, maybe hemorrhoid cream for the eye bags is not such an obscure, random and completely ridiculous concept after all! Intrigued, I googled it up.

Turns out that I am quite behind in the game, and indeed hemorrhoid cream has been a model industry (not so secret anymore) secret for quite some time! More scientifically, it contains shark oil and live yeast cell derivatives, which are believed to be the ingredients that shrinks the eye bags. However, these ingredients are said to have been removed from the American version of Preparation H (the most common brand containing these ingredients), but can still be found in the Canadian and European versions.

From online reviews, there seems to be a lot of conflict regarding this issue. Some swear by it, while others claim that it stings. Personally, I am still hesitant to try anything that wasn't specifically designed for the eyes. Has anyone used this method to treat their dark circles and puffy eyes before? What has been the results?

Milan Fashion Week F/W08 Wrapup II

As always when we're in the midst of Fashion Weeks, all the clothes shown just look like a bunch of clothes with no direction to me. (It's why magazines like Vogue and Elle exist, and why they publish runway guides at the beginning of every season.)
Prada
THE show of Milan. I'm always half in awe and half in annoyance that Miuccia Prada shows collections with completely different themes every season. Half in annoyance because it hurts to spend the money to update our wardrobe so much, (although it's not like I buy any Prada clothes anyway,); Half in awe because Prada's shows are always so... thought-provoking. I've read many online reviews on the Prada shows and the key words seem to be: perverse, erotic/ seudctive/ fetish, Switzerland and lace. The interesting thing is that while most reviewers seemed to love the creative aspect of the collection, (no one dared to not like the collection,) everyone managed to come up with their own interpretation of the clothes. The clothes were impractical as always, but I think we're all so used to seeing artsy, unwearable clothes from Prada shows now that it's not mentioning.
The show started off with nun-looking dresses, then the clothes moved onto lacy, see-through skirts.
Lots of lacy dresses. It's very hard to decide whether the dresses are prim or erotic isn't it?
Collars and turtlenecks were there throughout the show. The collars seem reminiscence of Miu Miu S/S08.
Out of the collection, I think the LBD in the middle is my favourite. Hey, at least it's a bit more wearable than the lacy trouser (on the left).
And since we're looking at Prada, we must take a look at the shoes. The shoes sort of remind me of Miu Miu, and something Japanese anime girls would wear after they transform into their ever-impractical outfits to fight against evil.
Miuccia explained that females wear lace in all ages, from babies to marriage to widowed. Maybe it's the I grew up in a non-lacy period of time, but I really don't see lace featuring as a big part of a young, contemporary wardrobe. (I may just be brainwashed by the pictures from ShopBop, Barneys and Neiman Marcus.)
Jil Sander
While Jil Sander has always been all about minimalism and simply cut clothes, it's always bordered on being boring. But I can honestly say I like this collection.
I LOVE the coats. The coat Vlada is wearing -I can't stop staring at it! I love those artistic folds and the fabric wrapped around her shoulders. SO stylish and modern.
And the jackets look way cool too. Though as style.com mentioned, the suits looked a bit crinkly.
And the simple, work-women-type of looking dresses in all shades of grey.
Image credits: www.style.com

February 20, 2008

Milan F/W 08 Fashion Week Wrap Up I

Alberta Ferretti
Usually I just skim pass Alerta Ferretti, because the styles are always so similar. Very delicate, feminine and girly.
But this time, when I glanced at the first shots, I was surprised to find them to be Jill Sander-esque minimalistic! Albeit in a more styled and flattering way. The jeweled tones of blue and green were also refreshing to see on a FW runway.
On the other extreme, they also have printed dresses fashioned in a more flowing and draping material, reminiscent of the past seasons.
Example of the two extremes. The flowy, girly, delicate design and the more structured prim look. I want them both!
The cocktail dresses were a pleasant mixture of the more structured elements and the more feminine styles i.e. flowing pleated skirts.
I thought there was more variety in the evening wear as well. For example, this one on the left looks like they hired Laure Bennet from Project Runway to do it. I'm not much for feathers, but this is not too bad. The one on the right on the other hand is more structured and somehow reminds me a little of the pieces Zac Posen did a few seasons back. Still, very gorgeous and elegant.

Burberry Prorsum
This season, Bailey definitely went for a different direction. This collection is more fun, wearable and relaxed- and I LOVE it.
Don't you just love these chilled, wearable yet incredibly stylish looks?
The big overcoat is genius. And those huge chunky jeweled necklaces are TO DIE FOR. I bet they are going to be sold out, HUGE hits next season.
A little reminiscent of the cute shift dresses from last season. These are adorable.
The subtly vibrant hues are gorgeous. Though I'm not too sure what to make of what I THINK is the scarf detail....
LOVE LOVE LOVE gold dress here. I'm positive we will be seeing a LOT of celebs wearing this soon enough! And as for the feathered confection on the right....she looks like a bird. No matter how they put it, feather is simply NOT my thing!

Image Source: Elle

February 19, 2008

Grammy Fashion 2008

I realize that this review may come as a bit late, since the Grammy was last week and I almost skipped it this year, because honestly, the Grammy's fashion simply do not compare to the fashion of the other awards. But then, I thought: this was something we do every year (almost like a tradition!) and since we've had a bit of an awards drought this year..... I should really do it anyway. Better late then never is not a cliche for no reason. Anyway, here goes:
The clear winner for me at first glance was Alicia Keys in this GORGEOUS gown by Armani Prive. I just LOVE the vibrant rich royal blue color and the elegant design. This look is Oscar Worthy- except for the pink egg shaped clutch she's holding. Or is that a clutch? Maybe its a sidekick? In any case, a nice beaded satin even bag would've completed the look.
Sharp electric blue is clearly THE color on the red carpet this year. Witness Rihanna in this adorable creation by Zac Posen. Though obviously color is not the only factor to a winning look. Corinne Bailey Rae's Luella dress is just a whee bit too show girl-esque for my taste.

Another winning blue that night was Nelly Furtado in an Arthur Mendonca draping dress. It is simple and goddess-like. Natasha Bedingfield's purple drape dress by Reem Arca is also very pretty. She even shows off the intricate three fold design here in this pose! I'm on the edge with Beyonce's dress from Elie Saab. Its very.... fantasy, Cinderella-like with an edgy twist, what with the darking bodice piece. I can't decide if its a daring success or a beauty pageant dress gone wrong. The pale blue color doesn't help. And Carrie Underwood's floral dress from Murad is...nice. Its not a bad dress, but not fabulous either. The floral pattern just doesn't seem to go well with the red carpet.
Maybe the guys would appreciate this more, but for me, Fergie near bursting from her Calvin Klein dress is not attractive to me. Furthermore while the yellow dress is simply designed and elegantly tailored, its just.....boring. And as for Miley Cyrus, from what I can see of the white Celine dress, it looks very cute and suits her. Unfortunately her hair and shoes drags the whole look down.

Image Source: Yahoo News

February 17, 2008

I Dream of a Lifestyle Involving Many Cocktail Dresses VII: Top Shop's Designer Collaborations

Originally I was going to do a second wrapup post for London Fashion Week, but I feel sort of indifferent towards the shows, even Luella's collection, which I had been looking foward to. With all the young and tredy prom dresses, Luella's S/S08 collection was so cute. The new F/W08 collection is cute too, in a darker way, but I'm just not that into some of the more bohemian-looking dresses.

Yes, I am still obsessed with looking at young, wearable dresses. And one thing that I have been obsessively staring on my computer screen this week has been the Designer collaboration collections with Top Shop Boutique. The designers involved are the 'it' British designers of the moment, including Preen, Peter Jensen, Christopher Kane, Marios Schwab, Todd Lynn, Richard Nicoll, Jonathan Saunders and Louise Goldin. From what I've seen online, some of the collaberations seem to be limited to shoes. But the majority of them have a small, but decent range of clothes available. The thing I like about these Top Shop collections is that the clothes have mostly been very nice -decent quality and designer-level designs at (mostly) reasonable prices.

The collection that I had been looking foward to most was the Richard Nicholl collection. The clothes just seem so simple, nicely cut and practical. Take this ruffle dress and peach blazer for example, it would make a great fancy dinner outfit. It could even pass as a work outfit if your workplace is dressy (but not business formal.)

After seeing this Jonathan Saunders dress in stores and online, I thought it was a good imitation of the original dress from his F/W07 collection (left), but tight jersey dresses don't usually look good on people. However, just a few days ago, I saw a girl wearing this out (without a jacket so she was probably freezing) in Leister Square, and she looked amazing in it! She made it look so young, fun and trendy, and it's really those fashion moments that you love the idea of designer-highstreet collaborations.

Another dress that I saw in store and actually liked is this Louise Goldin dress. The colours and pattern is quite pretty. The problem is, since it is a sleeveless dress, it's clearly much more suited for summer than winter. But it's made of knitted material (50% cotton, 50% viscose,) it felt too thick to wear in summer and not washing machine-friendly. Too bad.

The collection that I wasn't expecting to like but ended up liking the most is Marios Schwab's. Last season when Marios Schwab designed a few things for Top Shop, all I saw were black dresses, so I wasn't quite impressed. But this time, there are some young, casual clothes with unique-but-not-weird-looking designs. Take this block-coloured dress -it would be perfect for a fun night out, and it's colourful without looking tacky.

The Marios Schwab dress that really caught my eye was this knotted dress. I am worried that it would make one look like she was wearing a picnic cloth, but it's hard to tell until I see it in real life. I just really like the knotted detail and the combination of two seemingly-mismatched prints. Sort of fun and funky without me actually putting in the effort to mismatch clothes and end up looking like a mess. Unfortunately, they've run out of this dress online. I wonder if they still have it in stores. What do you think of this dress? Opinion please!

What really irritates me about these collections is that they ALWAYS run out of the smallest sizes within 12 hours of release online. Would it hurt for them to actually stock up on the clearly popular smaller sizes? Seriously. Hmm, I wonder if the actaul shops would still have all the sizes available.

Image credits: www.vogue.co.uk, www.topshop.com

February 15, 2008

Final Sale

Its finally FINAL sales time! And I admit, I've been struggling with the the-sales-are-so-good-I-simply-MUST-buy-something syndrome. Thus, lately I've spent a LOT of time online window shopping desperately looking for something to buy in order to take advantage of the bargains. So here are some of my finds. After seeing on TV this local celeb wearing this Balenciaga-esque blazer (yes, I recognized the whole look as J Crew- and indeed it was) with an argyle sweater looking really cool, I've been wanting this white blazer (and preferably the argyle sweater too). I just LOVE the simple yellow lining of the blazer. I'd never have thought that yellow lining would look nice- but this one works! And the BEST thing is, it is on sale from $250 to $99!!!! I think that is a fair price considering that it is made of wool, but I'm still hesitant to fork out $100 for J Crew, especially when free shipping is not available.
I've also been dying to get a dress from Shopbop since the sales are up to 70% off and there is free delivery. I even narrowed it down to these two above (left: AKA, right: Karen Zambos), each around $120, which I think is a good deal because they ARE silk dresses and both used to be in the $400 price range- but alas, many of my friends disagree. Maybe my sense of value is going wonky? Anyway, I LOVE these two dresses because one is simple, modern and fun (the pink strip is also detachable making it that much more versatile), while the other is classic, ladylike, very pretty and just very me. I struggled between buying the two at the beginning and was leaning towards the AKA one since its more lively, but alas, its hard to imagine whether it'll look nice on me when I haven't tried it. My friends pointed out that the horizontal partings on the AKA dress may make me look shorter. And I worry that the blue dress is too prim and old looking. Sigh,
thats the thing about final sale items- no return!!
Other things that caught my eye. I thought this dress (left) from Joie is the CUTEST thing. At $88.50 down from $295, it sounds pretty good. Though it occurred to me that it might not so good on me in person. I can't quite put a finger as to why though. Then there was this silk dress (right) from Thayer, which can double as a skirt as well. I don't particularly like the style of the strapless dress, but I love the versatility. Down to around $80 as well, it seems like a good buy.
I adore the black dress with the chiffon sleeves (left) from Sweetface, the mixture of material makes the all black that much more interesting. And its only around $70! And the black metallic Mint Jodi Arnold dress (right) looks so much like this black dress I tried on at Barneys by Alice Ritter, which I fell in love with but was waaay too expensive, that I want it. I love the black metallic texture. If only I didn't already have too many black dresses already.
Another dress I was considering was this pink backless dress from T Bags, because I LOVE the print! From the front it looks nice and its only around $50. But I'm not too hot about the back. The cheap jersey material and bright colors in combination with a big backless hole, borders too much on skanky and slutty for my comfort. Besides, I'm not sure that a cheap looking jersey dress should be worth $50 at all!
We mustn't forget about shoes. I think these two from Ernesto Exposito mary janes are so cute. It has the perfect balance of texture, chunkiness and finesse. PLUS, its a bargain at $150, down from the $500's. And yes, I know, I have a thing for tall, chunky heeled, gently rounded pumps. These ones from Joie are exactly the way I like them. Down to $105 from $210, its not bad. These are SHOES after all. But alas, they ran out of my size.

So in the end, after all this over analysis, I finally didn't end up buying anything. So what do you guys think? Did I make the right decision not to get any of this, or am I missing out on some great deals?

Image Source: J Crew and Shopbop