Sunday, June 30, 2013

Actresses on Vogue covers

I barely opened the Carey Mulligan issue of Vogue, because I couldn't be less interested in fashion from The Great Gatsby. Especially when it lacks any modern interpretation whatsoever. Then Saturday night, a few minutes before our airport pick-up, I opened it and took a quick look. It actually has a brilliant editorial with Carolyn Murphy.
I know Anna Wintour says in all the documentaries that her decision to put celebrities on the cover has made the magazine an incomparable success but I guess we'll never know what would have happened if she'd stuck with models. The magazine may have been absolutely fine. Vogue Paris, although not as big as its US cousin, certainly has never been afraid to feature models. Anyway, if I hadn't had 10 minutes to kill with the magazine sitting conveniently next to me, I would have never even opened it.

Photo from

photo from

Holland Day 1

A lazy day in the garden with my children and their cousins running around like headless chickens. I spent some time admiring the 35 color combinations proposed in the little Pantone book I picked up at the Hong Kong airport branch of Page One bookstore. Super useful little thing, whether you are thinking clothes or decor.

Whether my daughter is in Hong Kong or rural southern Holland, she is always thinking fashion and strutted around the garden in my Isabel Marant Dicker boots.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

SALT. sunglasses

I always love a good aviator shape but I have a tiny face so a lot of them overwhelm me. When I find a pair that suits me I decide very quickly. My favorite optical shop in Hong Kong is Puyi Optical in Harvey Nichols Pacific Place. The opticians there are really knowledgeable, they all speak perfect English, and the service is very friendly. I don't know much about SALT. - but they are for sure the most comfortable sunglasses I have ever owned. Find SALT. right HERE.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pants proportion

photos from

These pants from the Valentino Resort 2014 collection have such nice proportions. I love the higher waist and the slightly cropped length while the leg is wide and creased. Click on the pictures to see a bigger version.

Monday, June 24, 2013

How to wear a dress

I was going to try to be all scientific about it, but then I was rummaging around Google Images and saw this picture of Christy Turlington. It's a few years old I think, but just do exactly what she did. Wear sporty glasses to play down the girliness, a simple slouchy tote rather than a structured bag (the fact that it is Céline helps too), and nude colored shoes (Céline again).  This would be a great outfit for busy moms everywhere - nice enough for lunch, comfortable enough for school pick-up, and great for work too. My daughter who is sitting next to me has just said her pretty help teacher has a dress like that. Yes, perfect outfit for teachers too.

photo from

Friday, June 21, 2013

In a week or so...

... this place will empty out and all us expats will be flying away from Lantau island to some place we came from.

Hong Kong airport

Be cosy on the plane - the aircon is always so bloody cold. And bring a bag that zips up all the way. Shoes that can accomodate swelling....

Jumper by Oasis
Khaki trousers by JCrew
Bag by Phillip Lim
Scarf by Jil Sander
Bracelet by Saint Laurent Paris
Watch by Rolex
Flats by Repetto

Loewe Suede and Leather Bag

Ideally the beige suede would be canvas from the great Italian company Limonta so that it would be more practical. But a really beautiful color combination nonetheless. Bag by Loewe.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Morning Glory

A fine morning for summer fashion in Hong Kong - 20 June 2013

I love the Birkin, but I don't like Hermès

a copy Birkin on offer in mainland China

Counterfeit bags are all over the news again because a local government representative for Chinatown in New York City has proposed a law which would make buying counterfeit goods illegal. Currently only selling is illegal.

I live in Hong Kong and just over our borders on the mainland there are entire villages devoted to selling fake goods of any description. The only ones that seems to be properly policed are the very high end goods like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Hermès. Pretty much everything else is sold right out in the open. Balenciaga is everywhere, as is Tory Burch, Goyard, and many others who do not seem to have the clout with the Chinese government that the big three have.

I have the sense that among Westerners the only prize worth hunting for is Hermès. And Birkins are high on the wish list. I am not the slightest bit surprised. When you go into an Hermès store with your best Sunday outfit and you ask the employee in front of you with your warmest smile whether you could get on the list to buy a Birkin, you will inevitably be told "the list is closed". Believe me, I have tried. Last year my husband bought me a silver bracelet at Hermès, I was there with him and asked again....  And the answer of course was "no". They exist, they are handed out to Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian like there's no tomorrow but I cannot buy one with all the good will in the world. And then a friend tells me that she constantly gets emails from a posh concierge service with lists and lists of available Birkins at Hermès. That makes me want to take a train to Shenzhen right now.

The contention that only a French craftsman could make such a work of art is pathetic. As early as 1997 I saw amazing handbag samples coming from factories in Taiwan. And with China's cultural heritage it's clear the arts are highly valued here. Unfortunately the government in China does not protect its workers like European governments do, particularly in illegal businesses, but there are fabulously talented workers in China, and what's worse for France is that there are probably millions of them.

According to this article on, an Hermès craftsman makes 2 bags a week. Let's say he makes a net salary of 2,400 Euro per month. If he makes 8 bags that month, each bag costs 300 Euro in labor. Let's add 200 Euro for materials and 100 per bag for overhead and all the PR bags for the likes of the Kardashians. I am just making it up as I go along, but what's fairly obvious even without accurate numbers is that the mark-up on these products is pretty extraordinary.

Would counterfeiting stop if Hermès readily sold its bags to nice willing customers like me at a fair price? No, I don't think it would. But they would certainly sell more bags and cut out the shady second hand market in Birkins. And then when Hermès would go whining to the newspapers about the fakes, I might actually have sympathy for them.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jacket at Zara

Now in stores at Zara - really cute jacket in a linen-look fabric

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A favorite fashion image: Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

This is an outfit by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac - I would happily wear it now (if I had that tiny waist) even though this suit was designed 30 years ago - I have loved this picture since I first saw it. Photo taken from my own copy of Vogue Paris

Spring is now and Clare is my girl

Volume with just the right proportions - all runway photos from

Best outfit in the show!!!!! (on a model who looks exactly like Charlotte Casiraghi)

dress over shorts

Since the Spring 2013 collections were shown on the runways last year, another 4 seasons of fashion have happened. Since then there have been Pre-Fall 2013 Ready-to-Wear shows, Spring Couture 2013 shows, Fall 2013 Ready-to-Wear shows, Resort 2014 shows. It's exhausting just to write it down. This morning I thought I'd go back and have a look at what designers proposed last year for spring - in other words, for right now. And for me, Clare Waight Keller's collection for Chloe best represents what I want to wear this spring.

The second to last picture (white skirt and tank with arrows) is my favorite outfit from the show. I love those arrows in particular because they remind me of some seriously fun and over-the-top clothes Karl Lagerfeld made for Chloe in the early eighties. She managed to bring those arrows back and make them minimalist and modern. Just gorgeous. By the way I can't afford Chloe - so I'm hoping the people at COS liked Clare's clothes as much as I did!

Karl Lagerfeld for Chloe Fall 1983 with the arrow dress in the middle - photo taken from my own copy of Vogue Paris

Looking for a white bag

photo from

I love all navy, or all grey, or all black clothes in summer with a bright toothpaste white bag. And particularly love this new one with the gunmetal chain....

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Givenchy windows in IFC

When I lived in NYC there was still a system called "lay away". You would go into the store and make a down payment on something you wanted, let's say a bag, and then you would come in on a regular basis and pay it off in installments. At the end of the process you got to take your bag home. If such a system existed in Hong Kong, I would have been tempted to pay some money down on the red bag far left. A month later, I would realize I actually really like the new brown color with red lines. And yet another month and I would have gone for the plain black, thinking it won't date as easily. And today, I am happy I have avoided all of it because I am already sick of looking at these bags. What a fickle business,  fashion...

Brick Red

Prada's Pacific Place store in Hong Kong looks ready for Fall with a display centered around brick red bags

Monday, June 10, 2013

Current favorite dinner outfit

My current favorite casual evening outfit consists of very old but good Phillip Lim black cropped jodhpur pants, a brand new boxy petrol blue COS jumper with copper metallic flecks, a JCrew necklace and yes, my navy Rockstuds.  The other day when reading my favorite blog,, its creator Preston said she has shelved her Rockstuds for now. Say it ain't so, Preston! I still love mine so much.... And since I have only worn them twice, I need to get some more mileage out of that investment! And surprisingly, for the amount of editorial coverage they receive, I have rarely seen them out in real life.

Acne Studios Jacket

gorgeous navy jacket with red lining from Acne - at Lane Crawford IFC

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Memory Lane 1980s edition

all volume all the way - oversized shirt, pleated trousers and white shoes.....

Every time I see a new picture of myself I hate it. And there's no amount of Valentino shoes or Chanel jackets that will make me feel different. Way back I was a perfectly nice looking young teenager, yet still I hated every picture. In those days I think I hated my cheeks and my chin - what a bloody waste of time. I knew I wasn't chosen for this cycling event because I looked a certain way, I was chosen because my dad was a big sponsor. So rather than just enjoy the moment, I still found reason to doubt myself.

And now 25 years later (!) I look at all those young pictures and wonder why I couldn't see then what I see now - that I may not have been a beauty queen, but I looked perfectly nice and I should not have been obsessing about my cheeks or my chin!

When I am 60 will I think the same about the pictures from right now in 2013???

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Reluctant Look of the Day

Is there a way to wear a full skirt without looking like someone who could send you to the principal? I quit my very expensive trainer last year, subsequently I hurt my knee and got lazy. My bank account is in much better shape but my thighs are not. And for some reason I own a lot of full skirts. I think I love them in theory, but I never ever wear them. So today when my thighs yet again refused to cooperate I put on a Tocca full skirt. I was late for lunch at the Peak Lookout cafe so I had no time to change my mind. Actually, I felt strangely girly and the skirt was really comfortable. But it's not a look I will repeat again. 

My gorgeous friend wore her JCrew hinged bangle bracelets. Dear Jenna Lyons, why have you stopped making these? They were super fab, and actually Celine is still making them right now. So please bring them back! My tiered necklace is also JCrew - it's so over the top it may be best for day with casual clothes, just to play it down a little. Find it HERE.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bottega windows in the Landmark

This top is breathtaking. No so great with the white shirt here I think - it feels like it's trying too hard, but there would be many beautiful ways to wear this top. I do hope I will get to see this out somewhere in town to see how it was styled in real life.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hong Kong Street Style

A while ago I was thinking I should start taking some street style pictures around Hong Kong. I figured I had to be professional about it so I had cards printed with my blog title on it. I was super excited when they were done and went straight to the HSBC building, where I perched myself on one of the lion statues and waited for a willing victim. 

It turned into one of those embarrassing episodes I will not easily forget. The first woman I approached had a beautiful Birkin with colorful silk scarves tied around the handles. She was with a friend and they seemed smily and friendly enough. I asked her if I could take a picture of her bag for my fashion blog. Her answer to that question was: "It's real". 

I said "yes it is lovely, and I would love to show a picture of it on my fashion blog", fumbling to get my cards out. She looked at the card and said "It's no fake bag".  By now I should have run for the hills, or rather The Peak, but I stupidly continued on. "Maybe I could take a picture of your bag and your hand with your pretty bracelet, don't worry I won't show your face". 

Yikes I really should not have said that. The woman with the Birkin had whipped out a gold sparkly hairbrush and was brushing her hair. Her friend, who had a better grasp of English now started yelling at her: "No! No! No your face, she no want your face!" The Cantonese are nothing if not direct, and a heated argument broke out between the women. This is when I slinked off, mumbling to be excused and ran into the Princes Building where I went straight up to Sift bakery (HERE) and ate 2 Banana Foster cupcakes. My street style career was officially over.

So nowadays when I do see someone whose outfit I would like to show, I take their picture secretly, and of course, don't show their faces....

Classic fresh summer colors and a canvas Birkin to die for, in the Landmark Mandarin taxi line in Central Hong Kong

Monday, June 3, 2013

Five Looks

My black Chanel bag has been in its box ready to take to Chanel to get refurbished. Mine was my mum's, originally bought for her in 1994 by my dad at the Rue Cambon store in Paris, but now quite faded - the black lambskin is slowly turning to chocolate brown. But something's been holding me back. When I walk around town and see the very many girls with the exact same bag, brand new, flashy and shiny, I doubt whether I want mine to be as brightly shiny and new.

I think my all time favorite thing to look at on the web is US Vogue's Five Days, Five Looks, One Girl segment. If you have never seen it, find it HERE.  Other websites with similar information (and peeks into peoples closets) leave me wanting for more, but this one explains every last detail the girls are wearing, where they bought it and why. The girls featured all work at Vogue, but surprisingly their looks are not simply about the newest and latest - I love how most of them mix lots old and sentimental favorites with the new and trendy. 

Anyway, long story short, when I opened the feature this morning I suddenly had full clarity about my Chanel bag. The girl featured, Phoebe de Croisset, carries a blue grey lambskin Chanel bag which has obviously faded, and it is gorgeous. It helps that faded grey is still grey, but the overall effect is that Phoebe looks confident and isn't the least bit worried that her bag is obviously a few years old.

photo from

That is a rarity in Hong Kong where everything needs to be brand spanking new all the time. You hope you can stay yourself when you become immersed in new fashion cultures, but along the years things do rub off, and my slightly conventional nature has had me inching a bit towards tai tai style. Well that's going to stop with my Chanel!!! I am taking it out today. In all its chocolate brown glory.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

It's all about the shoes

New khaki Céline sandals next to Alexander Wang, zipper detail Givenchy, white oxfords by Robert Clergerie, and the black paint splattered flats are eons old Louboutin from Harrods and my London life.

I start my day every single day with my shoes. I think where I will be going - will I be walking on the smooth shiny floors of the IFC? Or the hills and steps of Soho? I look at the weather - rain and suede don't mix, neon pink looks forced in grey weather, extreme heat will make my feet swell up into blistery balls of fire. Then I may have a quick check of my pedi to see if it's fresh enough for sandals. From there I move up to the legs, the top, the make-up, the sunglasses.

I saw a great comment from a reader on the The girl was very frank and said when she spots another girl wearing something "in-the-know", she hopes to get the girl's attention so that she in turn will notice her own "in-the-know-ness", so to speak.  We all consider ourselves part of a tribe, right? So I should add that subconsciously I maintain another criterion for picking shoes in the morning: I consider who I am going to see or meet that day.  Like if I was meeting Sarah Rutson for example (I don't know Sarah Rutson!!!), I would be slapping as much Céline on my body as it could hold. There's no better way on June 3rd, 2013 to tell a fashion insider that you consider yourself a fashion insider than through Céline. It's an expensive tribe, fashion.

my feet in Céline, my legs in Phillip Lim - now where the hell is Sarah Rutson

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Prada in the Barneys Sale

photo from Barneys New York, find the shoes HERE

You know the fashion business is really screwed up when you are browsing the Barneys website and you spot some silver Zara shoes on it.  Whaaaat? I thought, only to realize they were in fact silver Prada shoes. Zara copied them and since there are many more Zara stores than there are Prada, you could easily be mistaken and think Zara has already done these. Mental note: everything in Zara was inspired by someone else's design - I think I knew that, but it's easy to forget.

Barneys has a lots of Prada shoes in its sale, for prices far less than in Hong Kong. They now ship worldwide so if you love rummaging through a sale, this is a good one. There was an interview with Miuccia Prada last week in the New York Times - pretty entertaining, she discusses again how she evolved from an young communist to a luxury goods designer and her struggle to justify this to herself. Someone will, I hope, at some point tell her to get over it - she is 64 now and she is very good at making very beautiful clothes that make people very happy. She is a very lucky girl, in fact. And we are lucky that there are still so many pretty things left in the sale. You can read the NYT article HERE.

Aren't we lucky?

photo from

photo from

The sun is out and the sky is blue - aren't we lucky?  I got the last size 38 chambray dress at COS - aren't I lucky?  My son woke up and the first thing he did was find me and give me big squeezy hug - aren't I lucky?

Can you tell I am practicing feeling thankful and lucky? After a dinner party with some girl friends a few weeks ago, a new friend said "aren't we lucky girls?" And how right she was to say that after a nice dinner. It made us all stop and think, yes we are lucky girls.

COS's austere styling makes everything look a bit drab on their website, and their clothes always need to be tried on to get the full effect. This dress is much more nipped in the waist when worn, and the skirt looks like a pencil skirt when on a size 38 human (although I may take it to the tailor to narrow it slightly more around the bottom. But really charming! Aren't I lucky.

Betsey Cushing Whitney

Advertisement for a Sotheby's auction on October 19, 1998, in W Magazine, from one of my many inspirations binders...

I don't know anything about Betsey Cushing Whitney, other than the fact she once owned this magnificent diamond necklace.  And then at some point in 1998, her necklace was auctioned by Sotheby's. Did she die? Or did she lose all her money in the 1997 crash? Or did she simply tire of this necklace, cashing it in for something newer because it was given to her by a former husband who had moved on to a younger model???
In today's Googly information age, it's easy enough to find answers to nosy questions like these. But I am just going to leave it to my imagination. Whoever commissioned this necklace had sublime taste in jewels.