Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saglio and Alt

If the two coolest women in fashion are anything to go by, not many clothes are needed to look great. Three pairs of skinny jeans (white, black and blue), one black skirt, three t-shirts (white, black and grey), a white men's shirt, a chambray shirt, two blazers (black or navy, and grey), black ankle boots with heels, one pair of black pointy pumps, and off you go. Of course these girls look so good because they are very tall and very thin, and I think brown hair helps as well. Tight black leather pants on a blond girl are a whole other animal. I do think this formula could work for shorter and bigger people as well, as long as the skinny pants are replaced with a less tight trouser like capri pants.

Geraldine Saglio and Emmanuelle Alt from Paris Vogue.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Balmain strut

Balmain Spring 2013 ad campaign

As the years pass by I ever so often become aware that there are certain things I will never be able to do at this point. I am not attempting to be dramatic or prove to have worthwhile insight into the melancholy of growing older. But the fact is, by 30 most of us realize we are not going to win the 100 m dash at the Olympics. I often judge fashion shows by whether I still want to make the effort to wear the clothes, even those deemed by convention to be younger than I am. The Balmain clothes for this spring evoked that question with urgency. And the answer is I'd do anything to strut around and wear one of these dresses. The obstacles are minor - I need my torn meniscus to heal super quickly, then do an intense amount of hard core exercise, find the money to afford it, and finally find an occasion for such a wonderful dress to have a suitable airing.

Balmain from

Balmain from

Balmain from

All I do is eat...

The boredom that comes with forced rest of an injured knee has made me eat constantly. A trainer knowledgeable about nutrition once told me about the benefits of avocado for the joints, so I am eating a whole avocado on toast every morning. Bill Granger has got a very simple recipe which I love: mash avocados with wasabi, add chopped spring onion and a tiny bit of soy sauce. A nice change from the Mexican variety. And then a very considerate friend sent a bamboo steamer with the most delicious biscuits you have ever eaten. They were delivered by a beautiful woman with one of those open friendly faces that make you smile instantly. The card says I need to see what else they have, such a lovely treat. Inevitably I will be gaining a few pounds which is entirely not a problem for the fashions of the future, because there have been a lot of voluminous garments on the New York, London and Milan runways. I watched the Theyskens' Theory show on the Fashion TV channel yesterday, and I was blown away by the huge 80's shoulders, only to realize a bit later the wide screen setting was distorting the clothes to clown-like proportions. It was a beautiful show nonetheless and one of my favorites so far.

 Theyskens' Theory from

Another example of the new volume on the runways. This by Alexander Wang from

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Green trim on my navy CHxxxL

As I have said before one of the best things about living in Hong Kong is having access to thousands of immaculate yet reasonably inexpensive tailors. The one I found came highly recommended by the very chic English mother of a good friend. But there is something a bit insecure about the process. You pick this fabric which looks fabulous in a flat piece off the roll, unknowing that the color will be different once the sun hits it on your body, or what the pattern will do in the folds of darts or seams. You bring a picture but the jacket will look entirely different on your shape, on your boobs, on your behind.

It reminds me so much of my days at work as a young designer - my boss would come up with general themes for the next season, I'd do sketches and we'd pick the ones we liked best in group design meetings. Then I'd do a technical sketch with measurements and swatches, number of stitches per inch, and all sorts of forgettable details. But when we would go see the finished sample in Italy, it would never be exactly as you'd expected. It might be the quality of the drawing, or the sample maker's interpretation of it. But guaranteed you'd be looking at something you had not expected.

With this last jacket, I wanted to achieve something as close to Chanel as I could without going to Shenzhen and buying a fake. My friend with the chic English mother convinced me I should go for an extravagant and exciting fabric rather than plain black which may be found on the high street. And I am so happy with the result. The trim on top of the black brading has turned out much more green than I thought, but this is making it very different, and certainly not like anything on the high street. I chose a very matte black plastic button, which actually resembles a gunmetal type of button, but again I like it. If there would be such a job, this is what I want to do when I grow up - I want to be a consultant who helps people make custom tailored clothes - because it's a challenge to figure out what's right for you if you haven't learned from experience. But once you've had something made to fit, it's just really hard to go back to the high street... I'll be wearing this jacket with a plain heather grey crew neck t-shirt and jeans, and probably just flats.

the jacket laying flat

the jacket hanging

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blind Tasting

I have been watching Season 8 of Project Runway, the reality TV show where aspiring designers face a number of competitive clothing design challenges until only three participants remain. The final three show a collection of 10 outfits at New York Fashion week, and the winner gets money to start his or her own clothing company. I bought Season 8 on itunes because it was the best rated season yet. Season 9 has already finished and Season 10 has just started. What's interesting about watching this while NY and London Fashion Weeks have been going on is that two of the designers in the show could have easily outdone half the people showing in NY this season. They were really very good - the designs were well thought out, well cut, well sewn, and eloquently defended in front of the judges.

The same cannot be said for some of the most respected designers of the last 20 years. Take the four outfits above. Whether or not you like fur aside, I'd love for you to guess who designed these clothes. Hint, this designer made a 70s Italian leather goods company into a power house in the 90s. Well, let me tell you, if I would have to judge these clothes blindly, without the knowledge that Tom Ford was behind them, I would have given them 2 out of 10. Hot pink fur and black lace - not so cool, multiple animal prints mixed, cartoon jackets done much better last year by Phillip Lim, and not so striking black and white. However, knowing I was looking at his clothes, I looked them over and over again trying to find redeeming features.

I am making a mental note not to do this when shopping! I often want to love what certain people are doing but probably not looking at the individual pieces with honest judging eyes. How much more interesting would Fashion Week be, if you had a chance to judge the clothes without knowing who made them?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chloe or Givenchy?

When one injures a knee, it's imperative to buy some sensible heels immediately. I ordered these and now have to decide which ones to keep. I think I am going with all black Givenchy. They look as if they are much better made than the Chloe (although to be fair the latter are much less expensive) and the Chloe fit quite small for a size 37.5. I normally buy a 37 but for some reason my feet seem to be growing!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Narciso Rodriguez Fall 2013

all pictures from

The Narciso Rodriguez Fall 2013 show is full of everything I'd love to wear right now. Well maybe not right now as I am sitting with a torn ACL ligament in a Japanese ski chalet and those skinny trousers will not fit over my leg brace. Yikes, ski injuries not so convenient for loving fashion. The little black dress in the photo on top is just perfect. The shoes with the high vamps will take a bit of getting used to, but I think they may be a yes for me in the new season.

Narciso Rodriguez shoes from

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Aquazzura shoes

Aquazzura is a new exciting shoe company launched in 2011 by Edgardo Osorio. The shoes are all gorgeous and as comfortable as they are glam.  And the best part - they aren't as crazy expensive yet as other more established Italian brands, although I doubt that will be the case for long since they are selling out fast everywhere. Search for them on Shopstyle will let you enter the country you want to ship to, so that you can do very effective online shopping searches. Or check out I love how these shoes dress up any old classic clothes and make you feel a bit more 2013 in them.

3.1 Phillip Lim - next winter will be great

Phillip Lim from

Phillip Lim from

So many times when you watch a fall/winter fashion show, you wonder what climate the flimsy dresses were made for. But not at Phillip Lim where there are always some really lovely coats, and lots of layering. These clothes are made for proper winter. Well, maybe not the open toe boots, but those have been a mystery to me for the last 5 years. Not good for summer, and definitely not good for winter.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Vogue Nederland is quite grown up

I love this picture in it's February issue with Frida Gustavsson in the most ubiquitous spring trend to date. The black and white is growing on me. I think it is usually harsh on the face so I don't like it on a bright sunny day but at night it may look fresh. I will give it a try as I am quite bored with my lazy night time standby of Cos good-girl shirt and JCrew necklace.
Cos and JCrew

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Nerida's new necklaces

Nerida's new samples are looking gorgeous. See how to buy them on

Maxima loves Chanel

I love this picture of our future queen Maxima of The Netherlands - she's on a state visit to Slovenia with soon to be king Willem-Alexander. I love her grey patterned trousers and a grey jumper with a perfectly matching grey Chanel bag.

The simplicity and quality are probably what make this look so appealing. I only just read that French interiors designer AndrĂ©e Putman died in January. While trying to cut down on stuff during my move, I have been thinking of her famous quote about too many clothes: I love America, and I love American women. But there is one thing that deeply shocks me - American closets. I cannot believe one can dress well when you have so much. 

What do you think about that?

Maxima's bag - picture from

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Million dollar decorators

The curtains in my bedroom turned out a bit darker than I hoped, so I've had try and make the whole room a bit darker and it's turned out rather patriotic in red, white, blue. Will need quite a bit of tinkering.... I was thinking of painting the wall behind the bed in Farrow and Ball Lulworth Blue, but that may be too many blues that don't quite gel together. I have so much respect for decorators. It's such a hard thing to decorate well rather than the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach I tend to use. I have just downloaded Million Dollar Decorators from itunes - don't know that it will provide inspiration but it's meant to be very funny and over the top unlimited budget decorating.

Lulworth Blue paint from