Monday, August 31, 2015

My Week In Hong Kong

Walking past a Michael Kors tram on Des Voeux Road

Spying on a snail on my bedroom window

Contemplating spending crazy money (and then coming to my senses)

Having a swim on the only sunny day of the week

Shopping for make-up at Harvey Nichols

Admiring mold patterns on the parking lot ceiling - there is so much of it everywhere in Hong Kong

Dodging giant spiders in the Peak fog

Considering a softer than expected Givenchy bag

Driving by Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

An outfit inspired by Iris Apfel

COS top (on sale now)
Stubbs & Wootton Screw U slippers
Kate Spade velvet bag from when I worked as Kate's design assistant about 17 (!) years ago
Zara jeans
Hermès scarf

Last night I watched Iris, a new documentary by Albert Maysles, about Iris Apfel, a 90-year old New Yorker who was a renowned interior decorator and textile designer, and has more recently become known as a fashion icon to a younger generation. The film shows her going from fashion shoots to personal appearances to university lectures to home shopping network appearances, undeterred by her advanced age and with a passion for design, craftsmanship, color, shape, fashion and style that I have never seen expressed before. She says physical beauty can be an obstacle for a woman - because people who are pretty don't need to develop a personality, a style, to be charming or to be intelligent, and when their beauty wears off, they have nothing to fall back on. 

Iris was told by the founder of the Loehmans store in New York that she was not pretty, but that she had something a lot more important, she had style. She certainly took that to heart, and is still shopping happily some 65 years later, while simultaneously donating some of her older couture pieces to a museum. And while you're at it, watch Bill Cunningham New York as well, another inspiring documentary about an older participant in New York's fashion scene.

Monday, August 24, 2015

5 Lessons Learned from My Wardrobe Clean Up

1) Everything you own must be immediately visible when you open your wardrobe. You will not wear what you can't see is there.

Maje T-shirt, J.Crew necklace, H&M skirt, J.Crew suede pumps

2) You feel great when you look great. But on mornings when you don't feel so great, you often don't make the effort to look great. That's why everything you buy should be amazing. If even your most basic necessities (white T-shirts, knickers, bras, tank tops) are beautiful it doesn't matter what you throw on in the morning, you will always look great and therefore feel great. 
You have probably heard of the Marie Kondo method of de-cluttering your wardrobe. Basically, Ms. Kondo, who is Japanese, tells her readers to throw all their clothes in a pile on the floor and then pick up things one by one and ask themselves if this piece of clothing sparks joy. Those words spark joy sound a bit awkward, but they work like a charm. Pick up any old T-shirt in your wardrobe and ask yourself if it sparks joy. I think you will be throwing quite a few of them out, right? And hopefully, as a result, the next time you buy a T-shirt you will do it more carefully, with more respect for your hard earned money. 
T-shirts have never been my favorite thing - I have bought many carelessly, never quite liking them enough to wear them regularly. And then Melbourne Fashion Girl sent me an Anine Bing T-shirt a while ago. The fabric had a lot of stretch and weight, the neckline had a nice triangle detail like you see in sweatshirts, and the sleeves were rolled up and stitched down just right. It washes beautifully, and is virtually wrinkle-free when you line dry it. It feels super soft against my skin. It really sparks joy every time I wear it.
I now take great care when I pick T-shirts, and Maje and Isabel Marant are also favorites.

Prada patent leather shoes that were stored right on top of each other

3) Always separate patent leather shoes with some tissue or a cloth shoe bag (unless they are black). When patent leather is stored against other patent leather it can cause dark spots underneath the surface, so be especially careful with light colors.

4) Do buy trendy things if you love them, but then instantly start wearing the hell out of them. Despite the fact everything goes nowadays, there are often shoe trends that come and go quite quickly. But if you wore them right away (didn't save for a special moment) and all the time, it doesn't matter that they are now dated.

I should have worn these Alexander Wang sandals way more when they were hot, maybe 3 (?) years ago. Now the thick sporty soles and straps feel awfully wrong alongside the kitten heel.

5) Make sure you have some kind of a dressy pump in your wardrobe. I often equate dressy shoes with strappy sandals but then if you need to dress up in a pinch, and your heels are looking cracked or your pedi is a few weeks old, you do not want to wear sandals. Cracked heels in sandals..  brrrrrrrr that gives me the willies. I love black suede pumps for a dressy occasion.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Letter From The Blogger

I have been doing lots of wardrobe cleaning during the past week. My 10-year old daughter has been a perfect helper as she is ruthless about things that look so stupid. But more often than not, I run my fingers over the stacks of jeans in my wardrobe, and I feel happy to see them again, like reuniting with friends after the long expat exeat in summer. I am looking forward to wearing the Gucci loafers I showed on the blog yesterday. I am also thrilled to bring out my tweed blazer from Soong Tailors, which for two years has been a classic favorite, but now in its third year of life will morph into a trendy Fall 2015 must-have.

Nina Ricci velvet sandals from a few years ago

I don't think I will buy a whole lot this Fall season. If I want to be on trend I can be - I have scores of wide leg jeans and bohemian blouses. I have scores of shoes with tall thick heels. And I have stunning velvet sandals with long laces that tie around the legs. Some seasons it feels more fun to make do with what you already have - and as my style icon Amanda Brooks has said, you end up being much more creative when you have limited resources.

My holiday in England was an eye-opener - I wore two pairs of jeans, two jackets, three T-shirts and a white blouse for a full month, and felt quite happy doing so. A popular de-clutter book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Japanese author Marie Kondo, has taken New York by storm, and women everywhere are tidying up their wardrobes and their lives and raving about the experience on social media and youtube.

And then there are other considerations. My husband has been working incredibly hard lately, and ever so often while leading my expat-lady-life in Hong Kong I think I mustn't spend his hard earned money so recklessly, because I know he dreams of an early retirement one day, one where he makes goat's cheese and chimichurri for a living. And even if he could sell his very delicious condiments at the wonderful Daylesford Organic Farmshop, I highly doubt the profits from organic chimichurri sales are going to afford us much of a lifestyle. And how many shoes does the wife of a chimichurri maker need anyway? I am not entirely serious of course, but I find myself in a content state of mind this season, knowing that more is not always merrier, and that I already have a lot of beautiful clothes to rely on for Fall.

I Love Your Style is my favorite style book ever

I read Amanda's new book over summer, Always Pack A Party Dress, and what I love most about her style advice is that she frequently refers to old beloved pieces of clothing, things she bought years ago, or things she may have inherited from her mother. At one point she describes buying a Chanel bag on Ebay, and finding out she has been duped by the seller because the bag is not authentic. She loves its style, however, and the bag ends up becoming an unexpected firm favorite. Amanda is as posh an American as can be, but she is not a snob, and it's her lack of pretension that makes her such an interesting dresser.

It's fun to read the Fall fashion updates in the magazines, but some of the advice is positively infantile. This list is from August US Harper's Bazaar. Throw out all your nude lip glosses, girls, because it appears they are very much out of favor. And can someone please tell me what are sneaker mules, so that I don't accidentally purchase some. I suppose it's all a bit of tongue-in-cheek, but at the same time condescending enough that it has made me stop buying these kinds of magazines.

The magazine that has pleasantly surprised me month after month is Porter, published by my favorite shopping site Net-à-Porter. In the beginning I doubted this venture and suspected the magazine would just be a shiny prospectus for Net-à-Porter's own wares. It is partly that, but mostly it's just a book full of beautifully photographed clothes, with interesting articles about women who achieved their substance through their own inspiring hard work.

I look forward to reporting on my Fall wardrobe challenges as the days get shorter and the weather grows colder. Thank you lovely readers for reading.

XX Dianne

Monday, August 17, 2015

JDCamicetta Keiko Jacket

Mixing prints for Fall - can't wait for it to get colder. This is our feather light JDCamicetta Keiko jacket. It is 100 percent silk and available in European size 38 (American size 6) for HKD 2,900. There is only one in the whole wide world. Shown with Gucci loafers, Anine Bing T-shirt, and Zara jeans.

JDCamicetta Natasha Dress

I have spent the day trying to perfect JDCamicetta's grey chambray Natasha dress, which is a spin-off of the Amanda dress seen below. I have had samples back, but they needed substantial changes, so I've been at my drawing table, perfectly happy inside as it's another grey day on the Peak. JDCamicetta is a five-year old dress company run by me and a friend. I have been thinking of offering some of our things on this site soon.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Be Happy For This Moment. This Moment Is Your Life.

Walking around Lugard Road on the Peak in broad daylight on Sunday afternoon. No filter, just the fog descending on the jungly forest covering the Peak mountain.