Friday, March 30, 2012

Shabby Chic

Shabby chic is sometimes defined as a mix between "cottage" and "luxurious" - god knows what that means. But I guess it is about contrast. Here I am with my Celines walking into a private kitchen in the bowels of Lan Kwai Fong. It's exactly the kind of contrast the fashion mags love. Dirty tiles, cigarette butts, rusty railings and fancy shoes. It's not really shabby chic, perhaps more heroin chic, but that seems a bit extreme now that we are no longer in the nineties.

I ended up here after a long afternoon at Sevva - lunch and then drinks at the gorgeous terrace overlooking Central Hong Kong and the harbor. The sort of afternoon where my friend showed us the contents of her handbag. 

All of that actually fits into her lovely Chloe bag, which I have been coveting for a long time. Today I also met the lovely Chinese man wearing these stripy trousers. It's a shame my crappy blackberry camera couldn't get his full outfit - he also had striking red locks and told me he was at Columbia University in the mid-seventies.

Look at his amazing perforated jumper, the stripy linen pants, and the studded shoes. So lovely there are people willing to dress up like this!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The New China

Everything is brand spanking new in the new China. Even antique books are brand new. As is the 1966 Dom Perignon. Fascinating visit to the mainland yesterday. Beyond intriguing to see what all that new money is spent on....

Goods falling of the back of the truck? No just being sold off the back of a truck.

Shiny golden treasures of the sea, anyone?

No house is complete without a giant poodle

or some gnomes from a far away land

A faux antique telephone with golden dial AND digital screen. Antique does not have to mean inconvenient.

Keeping up with the Joneses - my pots are so much bigger than yours

Some deliciously juicy plastic fruit

Silk satin ceiling swag - plaster is soooo last year

I have to admit I love Mr and Mrs Frog. Had I not spent all my money on fake lavender, I would have bought these beauties.

Every house needs a fully stocked library of plastic faux books. Striking how popular the Cinderella story is for the library. Should a pesky visitor try to open one of your books, ring the dinner bell with great urgency.

All of this in shiny retail paradise

Last but not least, me and my new dog Rover. So easy and so loyal.

Monday, March 26, 2012

She makes it look so easy

Photos from, totally fabulous and fun celeb pics website

If prints scare you, look at Alexa Chung's outfit. Colorful floral skirt toned down with a navy T-shirt and classic tassel loafers. I know, she makes it look so easy partly because she is tall, thin and super cute, but a boatneck t-shirt and and A-line skirt work for any figure. And I am a big fan of long sleeves, or three quarter sleeves, even in summer. They are not that much warmer than short sleeves but infinitely more attractive.

Why are designer shoes so damn expensive all of a sudden?

Don't blame me for the language, I am quoting from an article on Jezebel - read it here (and do watch the video of Carrie losing her Manolos at a shoes-off party - one of the all time funny episodes). The article complains about the seemingly arbitrary rise in designer shoe prices in recent years. Designers are blaming it on the increased cost of raw materials, I am assuming the leather. But that doesn't explain why Stella McCartney's shoes are so expensive, since she uses no leather at all. And why can companies like Tory Burch, DVF and JCrew still make leather shoes for so much less? Although their prices have also gone up - JCrew sells some pony hair flats for $250.

I once sat in a handbag pricing meeting where a few bigwigs present thought our retail prices were just too low. We explained it was cost price and overhead, etc, same formula as always, but still some in the room simply thought the prices felt a bit "cheap". So we upped them. It isn't really shocking, it's just capitalism at its opportunistic best.

The pair of Zara shoes I showed you the other day is actually my first pair of Zara shoes. But I was really pleasantly surprised. I used to feel maybe it was the wrong thing to do, to buy from a company that fairly blatantly knocks off the best designs of the season. But you know what, I am totally over it!!!

Amazingly beautiful shoe by Stella McCartney. Yours for $835.

Such pretty Jimmy Choos.... Yours for $995

Michael Kors contrast beauties. For you just $945.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The olden days

All that pastel got me thinking of the olden days. Those olden days (late eighties early nineties) totally shaped my idea of beauty and I love a glamorous made up face over a bare 2012 face. This Vogue cover with the breathtakingly beautiful Karen Mulder was styled by Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele (see my post on her and Adriana Lima here).

Pastel peach and pink

I got the full daughter seal of approval in today's bookshop duty. Pink and peach all the way. The jeans are old Zara and the gorgeously soft jumper is from Nuan Cashmere in Hong Kong. The junky necklace is old JCrew. I have had a great dislike for pastel colors since I wore baby pink leg warmers in to a high school party and realized the minute I arrived that I looked like an absolute idiot. So I am feeling a bit like a goody-two-shoes today - not sure this is going to be a regular occurrence.

The spring collections were full of pink though and I didn't spot any leg warmers anywhere. But Phillip Lim and company are way better at making pastels look cool than I am. If you are going to try it, do it with natural tan or grey accessories. Black is too harsh and color is too much.

                                        Phillip Lim                                                                 Chloe

                                        Bottega Veneta                                                 Jil Sander Fall 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Miss Mix-a-Lot

My daughter hurried into the school book shop this morning anxiously looking for me, worried I might again not look like one of the pretty mommies. At the last moment I had thrown some bracelet bling on this morning, so I think she was relieved I had made a slight effort. But the combo of JDCamicetta dress tucked into those same old H&M pants was a disappointment. Just not enough pink in there. Good thing I did not also add the third pattern on top.

With all the mixing of prints out there in fashion land, I am loving getting dressed. There are very few prints I don't like and ten years in London have gotten my eye used to crazy color and style combinations. I also like that jacket with the blue print top. And I love the blue print top with the yellow stripy shorts. And well, the yellow stripy shorts are totally cute with dotted top and animal print cardi. No one needs to spend any money this season! Just dump the contents of your wardrobe on the bed and pick random items and combine. Anything goes. Add some colorful junky jewelry and done!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Jackets - Boucle

Tattered boucle jacket by Free People (buy it here

Distressed boucle jacket by Iro (buy it here)

Boucle jacket by D&G (buy it here)

Boucle jacket by Asos (buy it here)

One advantage of Zara over Designer

As I said yesterday, my Zara shoes were about 1/10 the price of a similar style of Lanvins I loved. As a result, I wore them immediately today. I didn't worry about rain, I didn't worry that I would scuff them. I enjoyed them immediately and they were actually quite comfortable for a 4 inch heel. 

I am not in the habit of wearing things immediately. I used to always save my new stuff for a special occasion, a party, or a special dinner, anything but every day, good for price-per-wear usage. My brother on the other hand, would buy something and wear it out the same night. The first time I ever did that was with an expensive Marella (a Max Mara brand) pink linen blazer jacket. I wore it on a flight to New York. So far so good, my future husband picked me up from the airport and thought I looked beautiful. We arrived at his house, his mum offered me an ice tea, and his dog jumped up to greet me. Ice tea all over the jacket - jacket ruined forever. I got about 11 hours of wear out of it.

In more recent years I have gotten better about wearing stuff and making the purchase count. But the fact is, those beautiful white Celine shoes (see my post about them here) are still sitting in tissue paper, while yesterday's Zaras have already been on Hollywood Road and beyond.

Grainy evidence of brand spanking new shoes worn today!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shopping Basket

I put these shoes in my shopping basket. That doesn't mean a whole lot - because these are ridiculously expensive and I hardly need another pair of black sandals. It's just fun to have full baskets all around the web, with imaginary wardrobes and way too many sandals. A pop-in to Zara resulted in a proper shopping basket, and the below purchase from it was 1/10 the price of the Lanvins. They are so pretty I have pictured them in a Coveteur style display. Check out for a peek into fashion people's wardrobes.

The Zara purchase was infinitely more painless, but sometimes I think you end up buying more often, so in the end you may have been able to afford the designer shoes. Whether the designer shoes are that much better is a whole other question.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Update on the Marni DIY

After a friend, I will call her Honest Abe, told me today that my husband is right because that necklace does look like a dog collar, I have decided to retire it. And the Marni drop crotch pants have gone from the return pile to a bit of a new favorite. I just can't walk or move my legs in any other way cos then the fairly ridiculous crotch will show.

JDCamicetta Spring

I look at the style blog of Chiara Ferragni a couple of times a week. She is a gorgeous Italian girl who dresses very beautifully in simple, optimistic happy colorful outfits. She is one of the big name bloggers out there with good seats to all the fashion shows, a line of shoes for Mango, and modeling gigs for prestigious companies like Moda Operandi. What I love about her, is that she dresses unapologetically pretty, there is no edge about her, just clean and easy. For myself I often feel I need to pack more edge in an outfit but every time I see a picture of Chiara it makes me wonder why I am so obsessed about being more edgy than pretty. It might be a hang-up left over from working in New York, where catty and snobby fashion eyes dissect everything you wear - and no matter how well you can draw a handbag or cut a pattern, if you got no fashion edge you might as well go home and watch The Days of Our Lives. So very nice that sweet Chiara has become such a star. Check her out on

Chiara's outfit reminded me of a JDCamicetta spring dress - this is a Fiona dress in silk, and I have paired it with a Zara jacket and Tod's bag. I love Chiara's Chanel jacket, but Zara will have to do!

In the world of the obscure small time Hong Kong blogger you change the lighting in your rather lackluster Blackberry pictures by putting outfits under the table. Like I said: if you don't know what to do with your poverty, you are not worth having it.