October 30, 2008

Halloween Make-Up 2008

I promise this is the LAST Halloween post I'm going to do this year. In case any of you still have not thought of what you want to be , I thought I'd give you one last idea- just go with the crazy make-up. People would be so busy admiring your eyes that they won't have time to care about the rest of your outfit!
Besides Galliano, my two other favourite crazy make-up looks are from Dior (left) and the Lacroix haute couture (right) show. Both redefines the upper and lower part of the eyes making their eyes look HUGE. They are in essence however, the opposite of each other. While Dior uses a sharp white base, Lacroix uses a smokey black base. Either way, I'm loving both of them. Go for the Dior look if you want to look feline and the Lacroix look for something a bit darker. A bit more subtly, we have the smokey eyes of the Chanel haute couture (left) and the Balenciaga (right) show. Just go heavy with the eye liner and the smudging. If you do have a costume, these would be more subtle looks for you. You don't want to take away too much from the outfit now do you?

And as for some simple DIY ideas: You can be forks/knives/spoon with alumninium, a piece of steak and ketchup/mustard to go with that. You can be Tetris pieces. Pacman and the ghost. Or a Twister board- just wear white and stick colored dots on yourself and carry the spinning thing!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Image Source: Style.com

October 29, 2008

Halloween- The Galliano Way

On the topic of Halloween, we must not forget our favourite showman of all, John Galliano. When it comes to putting on a great statement, there is no one quite like him. Going through his FW08 runway, I've pegged the drama down to two elements: crazy hatwear/hair and crazy make-up.
So maybe there is no rationale behind most of these, but hey, it's time to be creative!
This could be the dead sea captain perhaps?
The show girl. And check out the amazing, vibrant make-up! Talk about drama. Not sure about the lump on her head (looks a bit like a tumor), but am loving the gold spikes!

Image Source: Style.com

October 28, 2008

Halloween on the Streets 2008

Runway inspiration is all good and well, but besides the Prada lace-y vamp look, the rest are not exactly easily achievable. So I did a more generic brainstorm and came up with this:

Has anyone seen that movie recently, "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People"? In it, Kirstin Dunst goes to a costume party and dresses up as a 20s flapper girl (though I think she had a specific flapper girl in mind since the theme was "Favourite Dead People"), looking awesome in a black bob, long cigarette, red lipsticks and slinky black dress.
That was when it clicked! I want to be a flapper girl this Halloween! It won't even be that hard. All I need to get is a black bob wig, a long cigarette holder and a black slinky dress and then put on pale foundation, smokey eyes and hot red lipsticks- viola, flapper girl!
I even know exactly which dress I'd buy too. This FCUK fringe dress is perfect. I can even wear it again for a night out (even though it is not exactly my usual style...)! But still, I love the idea that I won't be wasting too much money on a cheap looking costume I'd only get to wear once. I actually went into a real costume store my first time today and I must say, I was not impressed. The costume outfits for women typically look cheap and skanky. And I'm not about to fork out $50USD to look cheap and skanky.

I also looked at the fangs. I thought, worse case scenario, I can just dress in all black, wear pale foundation and red lipsticks and with the fangs, I can be a vampire. A nice easy Halloween costume. But then I looked at the packaging and got slightly weirded out. "Molding" plastic stuff into my mouth and in between my teeth- that is NOT prescribed by my orthodontist- just goes against my natural instincts. What if it screws up all the good work my orth spent many years achieving? I thought fangs were just stuck on... I guess not.

So in the end, I walked out with a black bob wig and a reaper rake. The bob because I've always wanted one and it'll go with the flapper look (though this one is not exactly my ideal one cause it has random silver streaks in it...but whatever) and grim reaper's rake, just because it's fun to wave around a reaper rake at people. I know, completely random. I'm not exactly sure what I am going to do with them....but I guess I'll figure it out in the next three days!

Image Source: Flapper Costumes
and ASOS

October 27, 2008

Halloween on the Runway 2008

It's that time of the year again where we get to dress up in whatever crazy outfit we desire. And what better place than the runway to look for fun, creative, refreshing and fashionable ideas?
On the Marc by Marc Jacobs runway (left) there is punk rock, with retro pink plaids and pleated minis. This would be an especially fun outfit if you are usually not punker chic. And if you are, then maybe the cyber look for the Balenciaga runway (right) would be interesting. After all, Halloween is our chance to try out different looks and have fun!
Another look I am loving is the royal military look found on the MacQueen (left) and the Lacroix haute couture runway (right). The structured uniform jackets and all the details are just so pretty!
Even more regally, there is the royalty look also found on the MacQueen runway. There is just something so regal and colonial about it. I'm not sure how one would achieve this look for Halloween, but an idea is a start right?
And lastly, there is the classic vamp look. There is the elaborate version from the Lacroix haute couture show (left), or for something simpler and easier, the black lace version from the Prada runway (right). In fact, with all the "lace" around, you can very easily achieve this look. All you need are fangs!

Image Source: Style.com

October 24, 2008

Ctrl BG: A Shortcut to Financial News 10/24

Is it just me, or is it not even news anymore that there was a huge drop/rally in the market on a given day? Now that we've broken all the records in the last century, it's hard to be fazed by big swings in the market. I think my next threshold is if (or is it when?) the Dow hits the 7000s.

But anyway, the
global market went on another roller coaster ride this week, ending with a big drop on Friday. Asia in particular took a big hit. On the Hong Kong stock exchange, HSBC, the darling of all stocks there, fell by 10% to $88, a 4 year low. I personally could not remember HSBC being below $100.... ever. People are shocked and heartbroken. I don't blame them. The HSBC stock to HK investors is like how Louis Vuittons is to Japanese women- everyone owns at least one or aspires to own one. To see the value of such an entrenched brand go down must be a very traumatizing experience indeed. Who knew that Morgan Stanley slashing the price by 25%, would have such a profound effect?

Back to the rest of the world, developed and emerging markets alike are hit due to slumping currencies and higher financing cost. ING is is latest "big gun" to be bailed out with a $13.5 billion Dutch government injection. And countries such as Iceland, Pakistan and Turkey are in talks with the IMF for help.

In the US, experts have placed the blame on hedge fund of funds. Since investors can pull money out of hedge fund of funds anytime they want i.e. now, this has in turn put pressure on hedge funds to pull out of the market and thus the crazy selling and shorting to cover losses. The mounting layoffs *yikes!* (
Goldman announced they were cutting back 10% of their workforce-less than I expected!), speculations about whether we're in a recession or not (do we really need anymore proof?), Greenspan admitting to be "partially wrong" and bad company earnings report coming out didn't help. Oh and PNC just announced that they were taking over National City for $5.2 billion (backed by tax payers). This is the next big bank takeover since Wachovia two weeks ago. Investors are now waiting to see if the Fed will further lower interest rates next Wednesday and whether the US economy is indeed in a recession with the GDP data coming out next Thursday.

It's not a completely gloomy outlook though. Asian countries, following Europe, are starting to form their own $80 billion emergency fund- better safe than sorry. The US are working on another stimulating package and a plan to bailout individual home owners, so then they can get better termed loans. Call me a selfish hypocrite, but while I'm all for bailing out banks because it affects me, I'm not sure how I feel about bailing out individuals. Makes me think, "if I knew the government was going to bail them out, maybe I should've gone and bought a house I clearly cannot afford too!" Logically though, I know helping them would help the economy as a whole, since foreclosure is one of the biggest issues. Guess I'll get around to the idea.

On a side note, did you know that the $250 billion capital injection into banks last week is not part of the $700 billion package? I wasn't sure myself until this week. How come they need approval for $700 billion and not $250 billion? $250 billion is still a LOT of money.

October 23, 2008

Stop the Fall

I was getting excited about Fall, making a visit to New York and Vermont I started second guessing my move to the West Coast (oh, but wait San Francisco is sort of cold all they time, I can layer up in June if I wanted to.) The layers, the coats, scarves, leg warmers, stockings, I love it all. When I first arrived to start my college years on the East Coast, and after spending my life in the subtropics, I detested the winter. However, with thickened blood, by the end of my four years I actually looked forward to the cold weather - and not to mention Fall fashion...

But HOLD ON a second, back up, back up.


Looking at Celine's Spring/Summer 2009 line made me want Summer again. After going through their entire runway show I don't really care for autumn leaves right now. Give me the Summer - I want to wear all of this! I would happily replace all the dresses in my closet with any of the above. I love the wrapping idea with such a free flowing dress.

Probably not practical for the office unless you worked at Vogue, but if I could go to work wearing this, I definitely would.

I thought the draping of these dresses were beautiful. Perfect for a summery night out on the town? I think so.

I never really paid attention to Celine and now I'm asking myself why. And those shoes! I love those shoes, but let's wait for me to fully express my craze for shoes, that could take up another two...three posts.

Image source: Style.com

October 21, 2008

The Leather Puffer

As you might have read, lately, I've been craving a leather jacket. They are the perfect item to edge up a girly outfit. But since I'm the more easily chilled kind, warmth against the bitter cold is always one of my primary concerns. And so following the puffer trench, I discovered the leather puffer. I wasn't even deliberately looking. I was just randomly browsing at the Intermix store and lo' and behold, I find the leather puffer below: I thought the concept was awesome, a cool, edgy and WARM leather jacket. The soft gray color also caught my eye. Probably because it has all the qualities of black but is not (although of course they have it in black). But then I tried it on- just for fun. It fits on very snugly (so if you're buying them online, go one size bigger!) but also very stiffly. I know it is probably because of the stuffing, but for a whooping $875, I expected a bit more. The ability to move to begin with. And secondly, better quality leather. I've come across my fair share of leather, and that was not good leather. It was stiff and felt (and looked now that I think about it) plasticky, making it look a bit cheap, which is ridiculous considering the price tag.

I walked out of the store disappointed. Maybe if they cut down the price tag by at least a 1/3. Then maybe it'll be worth considering.
Image Source: Intermix Online

October 20, 2008

Tell me more, more, more

Generally, I never wear makeup because I have sensitive skin (and I'm a lazy bum!). But when I do manage to get around to putting it on, I use all of the above.

Yes, I sort of look like a walking advertisement for Bare Escentuals. I actually just started using the brand a couple of days ago and I'm hooked. Their powder foundation is incredible. It's light, feels and looks as if I've got nothing on, except, all of a sudden I have immaculate skin. Comparable to an airbrush - I swear, it covers everything. If you need more coverage, just press some extra powder on that particular area before you apply it to your entire face. Walah! Instant concealer!

One thing that I am very particular about is mascara. I have really long eye lashes, and I don't want bother with an eyelash curler, clumping, or something that's too heavy. Lancome's L'EXTREME mascara is just right for me because it makes my lashes even longer! It's clean, curls my lashes, doesn't flake, and goes on ever so smoothly.

I got my M.A.C pigment as a gift from a friend. "Naked" is a great colour as it has just the right shimmer, it looks great on the inner corners of the eyes and on the bottom lid along with some liner. For some more drama, you can brush a touch on top of your cheekbones for a night out.

While I pretty much only wear what I just told you, the amount of makeup that I own would make you think otherwise. I own a lot of makeup, most of which I use once every 2 years (I don't think you're even supposed to keep it for that long). Before, I kept it all in multiple makeup bags - very unorganized. Now I keep it one big pouch,thanks to my friend A who has started to make these adorable pouches that she sells on Etsy. Awesome prints, really great quality, and the perfect carrier for all my stuff.

That's what I've got in my bag, what are your essentials?

Image source: Alliebeans, Bare Escentuals, Lancome, M.A.C, The Body Shop, Sephora

October 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Barneys Girl!

So even though I said I'll be away for awhile, I just had to wish BG happy birthday with our traditional birthday post!
First off, a must-have for this season -booties! This lovely pair is by Christian Louboutin (thus obviously only possible for me to send her a pair via a blog post!) Booties are a bit last season and the new twist for the season are the peep-toe booties. But since we're both uncomfortable with peep-toe boots (imagine if it snowed,) this pair would be great!

As BG mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, she's been wanting a white coat. This coat by Mackage Elle is so cute and classic!

The Tudor Silk Dress was the first thing that caught our eye this season at FCUK. We love the folded bits at the top and the way the longer strips would move with the dress (we imagine.) This would be perfect for so many events -just think!

BG's been meaning to get a pair JBrand's Low Rise Cigarette Leg Jeans for awhile. We've heard great things about it and they look perfect to tuck into boots.

And a pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs boots to go with the skinny jeans.
A pair of heels, again by Christian Louboutin (-can't resist!) They look painful to wear, but fierce!

BG is constantly looking into which eye cream to buy next. Dr. Brandt's Lineless Eye Cream sounds good on the Sephora website (as everything does,) but the reviews over at MUA haven't been great. Has anyone tried it? Leave a comment!

Marc by Marc Jacobs had a similar looking dress in gold last year -remember, the one Blair wore in the Thanksgiving episode! Since it turned out to be so popular, the people over at Marc must have realised what a sellable merchandise this style is and made another one this season! Make sure to at least try it on this season, BG! (Although I am worried that it would make one look old -not everyone can carry it off as fabulously as Blair did!)
I would, of course, include a bag from our favourite accessories brand, Miu Miu. Even though I know BG is not into vintage styles, this bag looks very comfortable to carry around and the size looks just right.
BG never gets enough of eye shadow palettes so here's another one. But I don't think she's got a black and white one yet so here's one by Laura Mercier.

The Sprinkles Cupcake Tower is SO cute! It's such a brilliant alternative to the typical birthday cake (though I'm guessing way more expensive.) Make a wish and blow out your candles BG -happy birthday!

October 18, 2008

Ctrl BG: A Shortcut to Financial News 10/17

This week has been a relatively uneventful week for the economy. Not so much for the markets though- that was more of a roller coaster ride. Over the weekend, Britain and its EU counterparts announced a bailout plan to directly recapitalize banks in exchange for stakes. UBS has already done that with a 6 billion franc injection from the Swiss government in exchange for a 10% stake and the unloading of 60billion in toxic debts. The market responded positively and bounced back up.

On Tuesday the US government followed suit and announced that they were going to spend $250 billion to recapitalize banks, with $125 billion going into 9 major US banks (whether they want/need it or not..or so rumor has it). This directly pumps liquidity into the market and takes effect almost immediately to "unfreeze" the market, and indeed the market seems to be thawing. Banks are lending to each other again at least (also helps with the government acting temporarily as the insurer like the FDIC does for depositors). This will save many businesses who rely on borrowing to operate. So why didn't Paulson and Bernanke come up with this before? I'm sure they did. Probably because back then (has it only been 3 weeks?), with the public being so against the bailout of "Wall Street" such a plan would not have gone by Congress really well....... I suppose now it is ok since Britain and EU have announced it and it proved to be positively recieved. Just like in fashion, where the European runway leads, the New York runway follows.

Of course, this capital injection does not come freely. Not only do banks have to give the government preferred shares, but they will be more heavily regulated and they'll have to limit their bonuses and "golden parachute" compensations. Effectively, banks are becoming part nationalize (and to think Thatcher had to privatize sectors in her days to boost the economy- now we're going the other way and nationalizing everything). JP Morgan has already announced a 30-40% slash in bonuses this year (incidentally their quarterly report just came out and they had a 84% drop in profit- better less than none or negative!). Rumor also has it that GS is dividing their employees into four classes. The top percentile gets cash bonuses, the third percentile get stock compensation, the second percentile gets nothing and the last percentile gets fired! That's harsh! Sounds like it is no longer quite so lucrative to be a banker. While this plan temporary stops the bleeding, it doesn't address the heart of the issue though. The auction plan is still underway.

On Wednesday, the market plunged another 700 pts again on fears of a looming recession (aren't we already in one?). Job losses are up and it is not limited to the finance sector. And it's been predicted that holiday spending increased the least since many years ago this year. On Thursday, oil prices also dropped to $70, the lowest in a year! Hopefully this means more sales and lower commodity prices for us. The DOW finished off over 4% higher for the week though. Maybe more people are heeding Buffet's (who claims that for the first time he'll be buying American equities with his own account) words and snapping up "bargain" classic buys in the market. Smart shoppers.

October 16, 2008

Hey Beauty Queen, you're a Rockstar

Combine floral with steel, and chiffon with leather; people will tell you it's been done before and it will be done again. In my opinion, keep it going.

My own style doesn’t exactly incorporate the idea of “girly," however, I do develop the occasional crave to buy everything in powder pink. I love glitter and glam, but it's even better when you mix in some grunge, a little gaudyness (think Sonia Rykiel jewel studded bags), and a lot of black . Once you do that, you'll arrive at the whereabouts of what I'm drawn to.

I find that Balmain creates this fascinating balance between something macho but ever so complimenting to the female figure. Oh! Those studded heels!

And after seeing this magazine spread in Numéro, shot by Camilla Akrans, I want to dress like this everyday. So bring on the sparkles
and the studs. I'd love to hear all about your style, so let me know!

Image source: Style.com, Numéro 97 - Night Fever

October 15, 2008

HG Takes a Break

So some of you may have noticed that I haven't blogged in the past two weeks. The truth is, we just graduated from University this July and the demands of the real world is taking its toll on us.

Moving forward, BG has decided to continue blogging while I have decided to take a break. Obviously I love
I am Fashion (since I have blogged for almost 4 years,) but there comes a point where I feel that I should focus on other aspects of my life. Hence, I will be taking a break from the blog. It has been fun to share my thoughts on girly stuff with you all and hear what you've got to say about it as well. Hopefully I will be back soon!

In the mean time, BG will be blogging as usual and will be temporarily joint by E, who we've known since high school and is now based in San Francisco.


Lots of Love,


October 14, 2008

Paris S/S 09: Chloe

I am like 2 weeks too late, but it would be a great shame for me to skip over the Chloe collection, a brand which I'll always have a soft spot for. It would also be a shame to miss this collection, because this is Hannah MacGibbon's first collection at the helm of Chloe. Mr.Toledo finally gave the boot to Paulo Melim Andersson, who's aesthetics was clearly at odds with the classic Chloe girl. I shudder thinking about the last collection. Fortunately for us, MacGibbons seems to have a much better grasp of what Chloe is supposed to be about- and she should, having spent five years working at Chloe under Phoebe! A few things that stood out, that MacGibbon brought to the table. First, there is this very interestingly structured top design (left). I'm not sure how practical it is, but it is definitely cute, girly and innovative.

Then there were the scallop-edges everywhere (right). Not too sure how I feel about them though. They're feminine and very clever in that memorable way- next season when I see scallop-edged clothing, I'd definitely think of Chloe. On the other hand though, the scallop-edges around the shoulders and sleeves, kind of makes the model look as if they've been pinned up to an invisible wall.
I much prefer the scallop-edges (or "dinosaur scales") at the Christopher Kane runway. These are refreshing, innovative but still very flattering and pretty at the same time.
Back on the Chloe runway, I am finally seeing the Chloe girl. That relaxed and effortlessly chic girl on the streets.
Personally, I am loving the richly colored, silky evening wear. It is evening but not overly formal- perfect for a fun night out. Very girl and definitely very youthful...maybe even a bit too youthful, what with the fluttering sleeves and poofy skirts (right). Nevertheless, I definitely see many starlets wearing it in the season to come.
Lastly, let's not forget the shoes. I love how it is so simple and wearable-looking- which means I can potentially wear something similar next season! The shoes on other runways are so sky high that I trip even imagining myself in them!

Image Source: Style.com

October 13, 2008

Something Pretty

Hi Guys & Dolls, I'm the new guest blogger on I AM FASHION. I'm extra excited to be given the opportunity to post on such a lovely blog, because I have been following it forever! Much love to BG & HG, you two are wonderful. My blog is over here, and I hope you enjoy my posts xoxox, E.

I used to not care about my underwear. No one saw it, so what's the big deal? I just didn't get it.

I get it now. All thanks to a trip to Italy, where women take looking good seriously, no matter what clothing article you're talking about. During my time there, I found myself getting hustled into Intimissimi by my mum. It was like Italy's version of Victoria's Secret, except it was beautiful, relaxed, and not eye blindingly pink. It was there where I found myself surrounded by dainty things of lace, satin, and ribbon.

I am now totally obsessed with lingerie in general. Slips, camisoles, etc, you name it, I wish I had it all. And while my wallet doesn't stretch to the lengths of La Perla, no one ever said I couldn't look.

And who cares if no one sees it, it makes me feel glamorous. And to have a drawer filled with pretty little things to pick from each day? I don't have a problem with that.

Image Source: Intimissimi, La Perla

October 12, 2008

BCBG 30% off Coat Sale!

I guess one of the silver linings to this credit crunch is that sales and special/private sales are creeping in on us way earlier this year. One of the best bargains in my opinion? The BCBG 30% off select outerwear sales. Quite a bargain at this time of the season, when it's barely cold yet. If you buy it now, you'll still have plenty of time to get your mileage out of them in the next few months!
I personally have my eye on this fabulous white coat. I've been wanting one since Devil's Wear Prada came out, but haven't bought one for fear that it will turn beige/grey all too soon. Made of wool, rayon and cashmere, it will at least be warm enough until Christmas. The double breasted design with the tie on the waist, makes it an instant classic. And isn't the trench coat like design at the back just beautiful?

Alas, even at 30% off, I still find it a bit pricey for my budget. But if you aren't as limited, I think this is quite a bargain (along with a few other of their collection). So don't miss it, because this offer only lasts til October 13th (tomorrow!).

Image Source: BCBG

October 10, 2008

Ctrl BG: A Shortcut to Financial News 10/10

Wow, so much has been going on, I don't even know where to start! I guess to begin with, I'd like to thank everyone for sharing your thoughts. It has been truly fascinating to read about your opinions on this issue. It is always good to be able to hear about the other side of the coin, as my posts will reflect my own bias and I obviously do not know everything, I'm just interested.

I'm happy to announce that nothing too dramatic happened last weekend and no banks collapsed this week- at least not any American banks- yet. On the other hand, we experienced a 8 day consecutive drop in the stock market (globally), like the market has never seen since 1933.
The US stock market dropped nearly 18% this week, with the DOW breaking the 9000 mark (and very nearly the 8000 on too today). Asian and European benchmarks posted their worst week as well, while some countries, like Russia, Indonesia and Ukraine were hit so bad that they suspended trading. Basically the stock market dropped and financial journalists are starting to run out of words to describe "down." So how did this happen when the US congress just approved the bailout plan last Friday?

I've pinpointed it down to fear. Fear that this bailout plan will not work or came too late. Fear that the economy is heading for loooong recession (if we're not in one already). Fear that more companies will declare bankruptcy and they will loose all their wealth. And fear is nothing if not a self fulfilling prophecy. As a result, people have been selling off their assets or redeeming their investments in funds, forcing funds to sell off their assets to meet these redemption demands, further driving the market down. Everyone wants to get their hands on solid cash right now- just in case. Emotion is a powerful force. Logically, having just read "The Warren Buffet Way," I believe that as long as you've done your research and you believe that the firm is solid, then the market price of the firm will eventually match with the firm's true value, despite market volatility. In which case, it sounds like there should be a lot of bargains out there right now- not that I'm giving out investment advice. Just musing. Various experts in the field have been debating whether we've hit rock bottom or not and there has not been a general consensus.

So does this mean the bailout plan failed to do its job of stabilizing the economy, since the market actually got worse after it passed? It's far too early to tell (since it has not even been executed yet), but it's comforting to know that something is being done to address the heart of the problem. If you caught a cold and it keeps getting worse, wouldn't you go see a doctor and take some medicine, even though theoretically the body's immune system will naturally fight off the infection, just in case it's something worse than a cold that the body can't fight off by itself?

Though of course, we must bare in mind that the bailout plan is not a cure all (or as Buffet puts it, a "panacea"). To that end, the government has come up with many other 'cures' for the economy:
  • On Tuesday, the government announced that it will lend directly to non-financial companies through the commercial paper markets- which are short term, unsecured loans, firms use to borrow money for operational needs i.e. stocking up inventories. This will help companies finance their operational costs easier, since credit is so hard to get these days
  • The Fed will start paying interest on commercial banks' reserves, which will expand the central bank's resources and more leverage to battle the this credit market
  • On Wednesday, central banks around the world, including US, Britain and China cut their interest rates, which, made together, is supposedly a more powerful move. This is aimed to lower the cost of borrowing and put more liquidity back into the market (and of course there are a host of other effects, but this is the gist). This is one of the most powerful weapon in the US government's arsenal, but at 1.5% (after a 0.5% cut), they don't have much further to go. Any further, and they'll end up like Japan with no more room to adjust their interest rates and a decade long recession. You know the song that goes, "catch a falling star and save it for a rainy day"? I hope there aren't too many even more rainier days ahead, because it looks like we're running out of stars
  • Paulson and Bernanke met up with representatives from the rest of the G7 on Friday, to discuss the global economy and came out with a list of broad common goals. I thought those goals were a given, but I guess not.
  • They also announced on Friday that the US government will be injecting money into financial firms in exchange for equity stakes, in an attempt to recapitalize firms. At least we're getting something back. Maybe this will help Morgan Stanley, which has been under pressure this week with rumors that MUFG might be pulling out/demaind their stakes and what not.
Speaking of banks, Wells Fargo got the clear from the Fed to go ahead with its deal to buy Wachovia after Citi dropped out from the talks on Thursday to split up the deal. As one would expect, the bidder with the biggest wallet won. Still miffed at being upended out of a bargain, Citi will be seeking damage retributions from WF and Wachovia. Good luck with that.

Over at the other side of the world on a small island of 300,000 people called Iceland, the government nationalized (or rescued) their three biggest banks and closed the stock market, while their currency plummeted (the last I checked it was by a 1/3). Having out grown its Iceland's economy, the banks were struggling to stay afloat in this market with their heavy debts. Some citizens have even lost their life savings becase of this. The government is now currently waiting on a $5.4 billion loan from Russia, the only country who responded to their pleas, having been reluctant to accept anything from the IMF. Not that Russia is doing too well themselves...... I wonder if it's possible for a country to go bankrupt. What happens then? On the otherhand, if anyone is interested in visiting Iceland any time soon (I heard the nature stuff is very pretty over there), Icelandair is offering a "Winter Madness" package for 3 nights staying at the Hilton, for only $549!

October 06, 2008

Paris S/S 09: YSL

Back on the Paris runway, we have the YSL show. I must admit, when the rest of the fashion world applauded Pilati for his first collections, I was still a bit hesitant about them. It just wasn't quite the Tom Ford era YSL style, I associated YSL with (that was the era that motivated me to become a hardcore business woman just so I can wear them!). It's taken a while, but I think I'm finally warming up to Pilati! I am loving his minimalistic, oriental inspired collection. It is simple, wearable but still feminine and elegant.
I am loving the subtle black prints and the more relaxed but still structured silhouette of the collection, which is still very flattering. The whole super cinched, fitted and tailored thing is getting old. This is modern and refreshing.
One of the biggest thing on this runway are these lattice mesh shoes. The fashion world is loving this child of gladiators sandals and boots. Personally, I am not so sure. I didn't like the whole gladiator thing to begin with. And if I think that boots with peep toes are unnatural, these are definitely out of my comfort zome. It kind of reminds me of those jello mesh flats that were popular a while back. I do like the metal lattice heels though. That is really modern and cool looking, just not the rest. Maybe it takes getting used to?

Image Source: Style.com

October 04, 2008

Ctrl BG: A Shortcut to Financial News 10/3

I've decided to do my write up early this week- just in case something else happens right after I hit "publish."

After European banks started falling last weekend, everything else started falling apart when everyone realized that this credit crisis was not limited to the US. On Monday, Wachovia made a deal with Citigroup with the help of the FDIC to buy their bank deposit arm for $2.16 billion.

On Tuesday, Bailout plan #1 was rejected by Congress, and the Dow Jones fell over 700 points, hitting a record low since the October Market Crash in 1987. It was actually quite exciting- it is definitely not everyday that we see history in the making! This also served as a good shocker for congress members who voted against the plan. Many of them were worried about the "unpopularity" of Bailout plan #1 with their voters, since many people viewed this plan as a bailout plan for Wall Street (many nay-saying congress members are facing re-election this November). What did they think was going to happen if the bailout plan doesn't go through?

With this record crash in the market, people finally realized that this was a bailout plan for the people. This is not a time to place blame and punish those who did wrong (I mean, if we're really going to place blame, I think the people who borrowed the loans knowing they cannot repay them is equally to blame as the banks who made the loans to begin with). This is a time to take action before the effects of the credit crunch affects the rest of the economy. It would be irresponsible for the government to do nothing. Call me selfish, but right now, as a worker and member of the society, I'm more worried about the adverse effects this will have on my job (the just reported the biggest job lose in 5.5 years!), my 401K, my ability to get a loan (not that I'm planning to buy a car/house any time soon, but IF), and just my way of life in general. Even if you don't invest, have a 401K or have/need a loan right now, businesses you're linked to may close down because they are unable to get a short term loan to fund their business operations or their prices would go up because it will be more expensive for these businesses to get a loan and operate.

Good thing voters and congress members finally realized this on Friday, and voted 263 vs 171 for Bailout plan #2, which was created in record time. It is basically the same as Bailout plan #1, except with an extra $150 billion put aside for random tax packages (way to take the "load" off our future generations). They ramped up the FDIC insurance limit to $250,000, put more oversight on the execution of the $700 billion, gave the SEC authority to suspend the "mark to market" accounting standard (so firms don't have to mark down their assets just because the market is crazy these days) and a gazillion little tax breaks benefiting the environmental friendly, middle class, natural disaster hit states, homeowners,educators and businesses. Basically something for everyone- even people with mental health needs and the makers of "certain wooden arrows designed for use by children" (I don't even know what that is). It sounds like basically the same plan to me, except policy makers decided to take this opportunity for "quick action" to randomly put in policies they've been meaning and wanting to pass, to make it sound like a better plan. Oh well, I guess it works out for everyone in the end.

Unfortunately, now even the bailout plan isn't good enough to restore confidence and the market continued to fall after Bailout plan #2 passed on Friday. It's going to take a while for the bailout to take effect. At least there's hope. I'm thinking it is not a good time for Mr. Schwarzenegger to be asking for a $7 billion short term loan to weather CA out until tax comes in, in spring.

On the other hand, while the current economical situation is being compared to scary sounding things like the economic Pearl Harbor, the Great Depression and at the edge of the abyss, Mr. Buffet went on a shopping spree. After buying some of Constellation Energy for $4.75 billion and Goldman Sachs for $5 billion in September, this week, he also bought 10% in Chinese battery and automotive maker, BYD, for $230 million and more of GE for $3 billion. Even though this may sound shocking in this market, Buffet is actually a very sensible shopper. While fashion trends go in and out, the classics will never go out of style. Goldman Sachs and GE definitely qualify as classics, one being THE top bank on the street and the other being literally the backbone of the American economy, dabbling in a bit of everything. One is Hermes and the other is Bergdorfs. And the best part is that he's buying all these quality investments at a BARGAIN price. Another good shopping philosophy is to invest in emerging talents before they're famous and mainstream. BYD with its rechargeable green batteries and electric cars is definitely part of an emerging market. I'm not sure in which category Constellation Energy fits in, perhaps a bit of both? Either way, Buffet is a very sensible fellow shopper. As he said, "I like spending...The cheaper things get, the better I like it. This is a good period for us..go ahead." I can definitely relate to that. If only I knew the market classics as well as I know the fashion classics and had the capital to act on it. Another Buffet philosophy that I agree with, "there's no way a smart person can go broke except through borrowed money. All borrowed money does is help you get it a little faster, but (it also will) help you get poorer a whole lot faster." Credit card debts are definitely not pretty.

Buffet also made a deal with Wachovia this week, through Wells Fargo (which he owns a lot of). Yes, the same Wachovia that I said earlier in this post, that had just made a deal with Citi on Monday. Wells Fargo upended Citi's offer and offered to buy (the whole of) Wachovia for $15.1 billion without government help. Previous agreements and honor of word aside, this is definitely a better deal for Wachovia and the government since they don't need to help anymore. Wells Fargo is actually one of the few banks that is weathering this market out quite well, having had less exposure to bad debt (they have a much stricter credit requirement- as they should!). Citi, of course, is miffed that their government sponsored bargain deal has been thwarted and are thinking of suing them. Do I see a banking bitch fight coming? Probably not, the government would probably do something. This market doesn't need anymore drama... but it would've been fun to watch :P. It's no wonder that CNBC reputedly has had the best ratings these last two weeks since earlier this decade!

October 02, 2008

The Puffer Trench

Every year when fall comes around, I am shocked by how cold it is. Summer and time does a good job of fading away memories of the bitter cold and biting wind. Walking around, people are pulling out their trench coats against the cold. But is that enough to keep us warm? It IS only made out of a layer of cloth (or two, counting layers) after all. I own one and I don't find it very warm at all. Maybe I'm just more easily chilled than others, but I'm thinking that something a bit more substantial is called for. Luckily for me, Burberry knew just what I was thinking.
I am loving Burberry's latest puffer trench coat. Lined lightly with down, it is most definitely warm enough for fall. Unlike other puff jackets however, it still has SHAPE. A very slimming and flattering trench coat shape at that. What more can you want? It will totally last you all the way through fall (plus or minus some layers) and maybe even winter (probably not for snow though, for snow you need the heavy duty stuff)!

Image Source: Burberry