Friday, February 26, 2016

Gwen Stefani for Urban Decay at Lane Crawford

I tried my best to come up with more new spring outfits from my old clothes, but it got so cold again that I had to resort to boots, jeans and coats once more this week. Global warming in the rest of the world has mysteriously brought local cooling to Hong Kong. To be continued. In the meantime I did shop a tiny bit, but this time for make-up.

Lane Crawford stocks Hourglass now, so I went to the Causeway Bay shop to check it out. The make-up artists working at the counter there are beyond friendly and helpful and I came out with their Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta. It makes you look as if surrounded by hundreds of candles, so flattering that I am feeling it may qualify as a desert island make-up pick.

At the Urban Decay counter right next to Hourglass I got sucked into trying Gwen Stefani's mini collection for the brand - the sales girl saw the sucker in me immediately - and I walked away with her eyeshadow palette. It's made up of mostly very warm neutrals in both matte and shimmer finishes and then there are three brighter colors. The matte Anaheim shadow is great for my eyebrows, and the Punk color makes my green eyes pop instantly. Gwen is the perfect person to inspire Urban Decay as she seems to love wearing make-up herself. And I have always liked that she is a bit of a mystery - we never really knew much about her (although that has changed a bit since she has been part of The Voice). Her lipsticks were stunning too - I may have to go back for those.

Monday, February 22, 2016

HOW TO LOOK FABULOUS ALL THE TIME (even if you can't afford to shop this spring)

Today, on Tuesday 23 February, 2016, these are the news stories that have caught my attention:

Kate who? Meet fashion's new power players (The Daily Mail)

Kate is my contemporary. If she is now officially out, what does that mean for us 40-somethings who have been clinging to the belief that 40 is the new 28, and that wearing skimpy ripped shorts with ankle boots is an appropriate way to dress as long as our legs are still good.

Vienna police fine man €70 for 'loud belch' (The Guardian)

I only wish we had such fines here in Hong Kong. When I was growing up in Holland, in ancient times, decency was all around me all the time. Decency was expressed by keeping the front of your house tidy, by holding the door for others behind you, by letting elderly people go ahead of you in the queue, by being polite, by greeting strangers in the street, by dropping trash in the bin, by letting people merge, by covering your mouth when you coughed, and by saying gezondheid when someone sneezed, just to name a few. I don't think I had ever heard any adult belch loudly in company before I moved to Hong Kong. In this great city I have also been in more than a few snug red Toyota Comforts with a taxi driver who freely and loudly passed wind all the way down the Peak Road. And I have become a pro at spotting and avoiding a loogie in the making - always first heard by a thorough and unapologetic hacking of the throat. By the way, it is rather sad writing on the wall that I am discussing the olden days with such nostalgia. Kate Moss, where are you? I need you in that front row.

Sterling slides as Boris backs Brexit (The Telegraph)

We live in Hong Kong, our income is in Pounds Sterling, and we pay the worldwide imposed tax that comes with being US citizens. So Boris Johnson, the mayor of London and my favorite British politician, seriously put a dent in my shoe budget when he announced yesterday that he supports team Brexit (the proponents of Britain leaving the EU). Sterling has reacted with a dramatic downfall and my potential spring shopping is rapidly becoming far too expensive. Hopes of a very last minute surprise dash to Paris fashion week with my most favorite fashion besties are entirely dashed. Which is finally bringing me to the point of this post: How to look fabulous all the time, especially if you can't afford to shop this spring. 

Do your research

My source of choice here is the Paris Vogue Collections book for Printemps/Été 2016. 

Decide what trend/fashion direction you love

Dior's feminine preppiness

Givenchy's lace

Proenza Schouler's edgy ruffles

Identify the most important markers of that trend

The Dior outfit above may be my favorite look of the season. I love every single element about it. The preppy neck scarf, the cropped jumper with the visible layer underneath, the pristinely white and feminine shorts, the drop dead gorgeous pointy shoes with block heels. When you have deconstructed the trend, go into your closet and see if you can find the elements to create a similar look.

Then have a look at all your sunglasses

There may be some from a few seasons ago that are just right for your newly created spring look.

For Spring 2016 think Elton John

But if you don't find any that look current enough, you don't have to eat beans on toast to join in this trend - the high street chains often have great options for very little cash. There are few things as effective as sunglasses to convey the attitude of the moment.

Stay tuned - tomorrow I am going to try and recreate some of Spring 2016 looks with my own old clothes.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Another Chinese New Year Passes Thru Town

The red packets* have been handed out, the carnival is leaving town, and the Year of the Monkey has officially begun. Kung Hei Fat Choy!

*A red packet is a red envelope with money, given on holidays like Chinese New Year to children, to employees, or to other people that help you in your daily life. There are quite a few superstitious rules associated with the giving of money: for starters, the money has to be brand new, the amount should not have an unlucky number 4 in it, and unless the money is given to newlyweds, it should be an even number.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bye Amanpulo (Back Home To Hong Kong)

drying my hand wash in the warm wind

a last lunch of tacos at the beach club

After a few days of finishing The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee, which I did not love in the end*, I spent three deliciously lazy days looking at fashion mags. Prada for Spring is gorgeous.

Bye Amanpulo

*Janice Lee knows Hong Kong very well and shows us this by endlessly listing its peculiarities: white powder on the hiking paths to ward off snakes, Western women trailed by heavy load carrying servants, Lantau is an island that is "grotty and small" where "people kept beehives and made their own jam", but rarely examines these observations in detail. In fact, I was much more interested in the description of Korean society and rituals she writes about. Hong Kong is just a shallow background to the lives of Margaret and Hilary. But Korea and Korean Queens are stamped with indelible ink onto Mercy's soul. I much prefer Janice's earlier book The Piano Teacher. 

If you are curious about Hong Kong, find a great list of books HERE.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Another Sun Sets Over Pamalican Island

a drinks party at one of the pretty villas hosted by a generous friend

looking for baby sharks at Shark's Point

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Two Holiday Outfits - No Kaftans Allowed*

*I hope you know I'm just f-ing with you... kaftans are often quite lovely - it's the stuff you buy in places like Kuta in Bali that I have a proper problem with (yeah you know like world hunger and war). And do you know how hard it is to get comments on blogs nowadays? Even the likes of Pernille Teisbaek and Amanda Brooks hardly get comments anymore (so I tried a bit of fashion controversy...) Instagram, on the other hand, is still thriving, possibly because it is the lazier, easier option - after all, posters don't have to write and followers don't have to read.

cover up in a roomy men's shirt instead

Proenza Schouler bikini
Paul Smith sunglasses
Tamara Mellon sandals
COS men's shirt

for cocktails and dinner: a suede mini skirt and a white shirt

(Who says photography is not hard? I think Burberry pretty much said it when they hired Brooklyn Beckham to shoot their next campaign (I love Brooklyn and every other Beckham, but he is not quite yet Peter Lindbergh or Helmut Newton). I could not get the rivets in the skirt to show up properly because the bright sunshine exaggerated the white of the shirt, while it made the grey of the skirt duller. So I've kept my accidental shadow in the picture)

Zara suede skirt with rivet pattern (in stores now)
Hermès silver bracelets
Ba&sh shirt
Amaya sandals**

**I bought these sandals in 2011!!! Still a favorite - see my first post about them HERE

Vacation Dressing Is Stupid

It doesn't matter what the weather is like... it could be amazing like here

or absolute rubbish like here.... (no filters whatsoever, it is often this grey and foggy on the Peak)

... but when I get to this spot on the circular road around the Peak in Hong Kong (Lugard Road is about 3 kilometers long), I always do my best thinking. In fact, if I do a walk around the Peak in the morning, I always have inspiration for a post. This morning, I decided that I hate vacation dressing and that I should urgently share that with you :)

Maybe that's because I am not exactly into bohemian clothes, and special vacation clothes always seem to have red or turquoise embroidery and tassles, or pom poms dangling from the hem. And then of course there is the obligatory maxi dress in flimsy rayon with elasticized waist, cut to maximize cleavage.

When I resigned from Burberry in London to have babies, my boss asked me what I intended to do in the future. Without having ever properly thought about it I blurted out that I wanted to make a small collection of clothes to bring on holidays, because I thought the things out there in the shops were quite unattractive. I remembered that on my walk around Lugard this morning... funny how some memories suddenly pop up out of nowhere.

I ended up doing such a collection to a certain extent since my friend Jane and I started JDCamicetta, a small collection of casual silk tops and dresses to wear in the hot, humid weather of Hong Kong.

I am really the most rubbish blogger in the world when it comes to outfit selfies, but this is one of the JDCamicetta dresses I love taking on holiday. This was Bali in July 2012, and this dress will be coming with me to the Philippines next week as well.  JDCamicetta is available at Sarah Templeman Boutique in Cottesloe, Perth, at Number 8, 7 Station Street.

I will share what I am packing tomorrow, and I am hoping for some audience participation - please tell me whether you think I am more suitable dressed for a job interview than a martini by the pool, because my suitcase will be entirely kaftan free.