Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Eight years of memories at Isola in Hong Kong

The view from our lunch table.

It wasn't always easy to mind one's manners at Isola. Even in the middle of the most entertaining conversation one's eyes could inadvertently wander towards the stunning view of the harbor, Kowloon, the ICC building and the mountains behind. 

I can't say Isola's food was the very best ever, but it always tasted like it would in Italy. And strangely that is not a given in Hong Kong. Just as Chinese food tastes different in America and Europe, western food can taste oddly unfamiliar here.

On one of my parents' early visits to Hong Kong we drank a magnum of Brunello di Montalcino here, along with some white I am sure, and the cosy merriness of that dinner prompted my dad to request Isola at every visit after that.

My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary at Isola just two weeks ago. We took our daughter along as we have all craved the closeness of family more acutely since our son has started boarding school six thousand miles away.

A plate of strozzapreti at Isola.

My friend P had her fortieth at Isola. It was a beautiful pink lit extravaganza full of happy and relaxed friends, infectious music, much laughter and even more dancing. The terrace views at night were spectacular.

And then yesterday I went there for an impromptu lunch with two longtime friends, one of whom is leaving Hong Kong. We chose Isola because we craved salads, and the salad buffet never disappoints. When we paid the bill our waitress mentioned this day was Isola's very last here in this room full of happy memories.

For our three Hong Kong lives, the end of a very special era.

From left to right, Fiona, Kate and me.

Isola will reopen in the space previously occupied by Betty's and Ivy, number 2075 on the second floor of IFC.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Casual Sunday: 30 April 2017

Pink heather sweatshirt Isabel Marant Étoile
Black jeans with zips Zara
Shoes Chanel
Ring on a string, ring J.Crew and string Cartier

Thursday, April 27, 2017

War is Poppycock

An old canvas cheapy from Shenzhen gets a make-over with buttons from the V&A.

Is this the most contrived trend since the half tuck?

The off-one-shoulder-only shirt at Joseph on Brompton Cross, London.

Even the Bijenkorf in Holland gets in on the act with an illustration of that ubiquitous Self Portrait dress.
For true off-the-shoulder nonchalance, google "kate moss yellow vintage dress".

My new favorite color: Spring Green

a motorway in Holland

a country road in Holland

Every time I am there I wonder again how Holland is one of the most densely populated countries in the world when it is so beautifully empty everywhere I go. 

I could just google it, but in another installment of olden-days-wistfulness I refuse to. Have you ever sat around the table with great friends discussing things you don't know much about, your powers of deduction-slash-speculation heightened by a few bottles of wine? I remember many such nights spent with good friends in Fire Island some years ago, everyone contributing a whole bunch of nonsense until late in the night over much laughter and competitiveness.

Nowadays someone whips out an iphone at record speed. Not nearly as much fun. 

Spring green, so beautiful, right?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Not so fast, Pandora

Adidas sneakers and DVF dress

Pandora Sykes argues in The Sunday Times that the days of the sneaker are numbered. 

Pandora is wrong.

If you have ever walked around town in cushiony sneakers and regular clothes, marveling with every bouncy step that this is THE best fashion development ever, then you will no doubt agree with me that we are never ever going to give up sneakers.

We are still going to wear pretty heels out at night or for a festive lunch, but there's no way daytime sneakers are leaving my feet anytime soon.

Read Pandora's article HERE.

Joyce Kicks Off Art Central In Its Fabulous Queens Road Temple of Fashion

Neon light clothing rails full of Marc Jacobs

Artist Philip Colbert's Sequined Pop Art

Oasis of Fashion

A gem of a jacket and matching dress by Thom Browne

Looking back towards Queen's Road

A navy leather Loewe jacket

Checking the price on a tomato red Céline jumper and then putting it down again. Sigh... it's a really beautiful jumper...

More Philip Colbert. Party organized by Hong Kong's most glam events organizers, Bonvivant & Bellavita.

No holds barred fashion at Joyce

High Street Buy Of The Week: An Old Favorite Gets A Make-Over At Maje

Maje jumper with gold cuffs

From our Dutch fashion correspondent (my mum) comes this high street buy of the week.
You can never have enough stripy tops.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Zara Bag For The Rainy Season

The Hong Kong picture above was not taken in the rainy season, instead that one represents the pollution season - which is pretty much present all year round. Be careful what you wish for I'd like to say to the people who yearn for a return to coal mining or a repeal of environmental regulations. Soon you'll be breathing the same kind of air we cough up here in China*.

This Zara cheapy is perfect for the season. I love how the color matches my flavor-of-the-month army green jacket. In stores now.

* That's not related to fashion, I know. Did I ever mention I was a politics major in university? That's before I went to FIT. Sorry, it's a case of waar het hart vol van is, loopt de mond van over. Literally translated, the mouth floods with that of which the heart is full. And then it has to come out, I guess. Even right in the middle of a post about a bag.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dressing like an extra in La La Land

If you too are at times despondent, angry, and/or frightened about the fact that a simpleton in a shorty robe is roaming the halls of world power, go see La La Land. You will no doubt be cheered for at least two hours or so. 

In recent weeks I have been thinking incessantly about traditional values, decency, honesty and morality. Am I just becoming an old fogey? Is human decency or character not something I should be concerned with? Will millennials when they finally grow up and get a job even give a damn about 1950s niceties or ancient thou-shalt-nots?

La La Land, however, is as old fashioned and 1950s nice as it gets. The technicolor brightness of this movie is as sweet as a Doris Day dress - if only the real world were this pretty, you wouldn't crave sugar for the rest of your life. In La La Land youthful dreams and promise are at times compromised and at times realized, although not without a cost.

Ryan Gosling, the most charismatic man alive, and Emma Stone are just simply two decent people working hard and attempting to do the right thing on their way to proper adulthood. For two hours it'll make you believe America is again that mythical i-have-a-dream country it should be.

And if you delete your twitter app when you exit the theater, you may be able to hold on to that nostalgic feeling for just little bit longer.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Back in Hong Kong it still feels like Summer and Christmas

Is it true photos from plane windows are as cringy as purported make-up free selfies and pictures of your lunch?

Shek'O beach is best on a clear winter's day.  Cheap and cheerful rental umbrellas set the scene.

Back in Admiralty the lights are still up as Christmas has rolled into Chinese New Year.

Light jacket optional.

Jacket J.Crew
T-shirt Chloé
Jeans Zara
Shoes Chanel

J.W. Anderson at Selfridges

My choice for Spring

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Packing For London Again

Black bouclé coat by J.Crew
Cherry print wool jumper by J.Crew
Grey distressed ankle jeans by AG Jeans
Fake fur scarf by J.Crew for Net-à-Porter
Grey V-neck T-shirt by Club Monaco
White and silver sneakers by Raf Simons for Adidas

Every time I am packing I vow to become a better shopper from that moment on. What's obvious today is that I don't always follow this vital shopping rule: return the items you are not willing to wear right away when the opportunity arises.  

If you buy a blazer for an interview on Friday, but when the time comes, you decide it's not quite right, you should return it right away. If you buy an evening dress but then don't feel like wearing it on party night, bring it back as soon as you can.

Because if you truly love something it will be right for the occasion, it's as simple as that. I loved the coat, the jeans, the sneakers and the scarf enough to suffer from nervous anticipation stomach: when you ask for the size and think please please please tell me you have it, because I really want to buy this.

The cherry jumper is where my problem lies. I wanted a cherry dress from the same collection, but that was sold out. On a whim I ordered the cherry jumper online thinking I needed to possess something of that cherry fabric. Three days later, the cherry print popped up in the IFC store on some adorable shoes that I simply had to have.

Another three days later the cherry jumper was delivered, and the print was not quite as fetching on the wool knit as it was on the shoes. But I was sure it was going to work with something, after all it was sort of cute. Since then I have rejected it on more than one occasion because it wasn't quite right.

Not quite right with blue jeans, too dreary with black jeans, too girly with skirts, too messy with other colors (although I am suddenly thinking it could be good with chinos). Annoyed with my laziness (I should have returned the jumper) I am forcing myself to wear it to London. I am also packing a check shirt and a stripy shell and cardigan combo that have been lingering in the back of the closet to punish myself for being a careless shopper too often. That'll hopefully sort me out and the kids' college fund will be safe. Hopefully.

I will be reporting next from the great city of London.

Happy Chinese New Year!  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chino's on another dreary polluted day in Hong Kong

Such a shame this beautiful place looks like this so often nowadays.

All J.Crew except for the trousers which are Vince (see post below for link).
I should make I LOVE FASHION a dedicated J.Crew website, because I seem to wear not much else.
I assure you I am not getting paid, J.Crew just makes clothes that perfectly fit my life - reasonable prices, nice quality and easy to wear with everything else.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

For The Love of Chinos

Étoile Isabel Marant jacket
Shoes, Trousers, Shell, all J.Crew
 Belt, Hugo Boss

I've developed a renewed obsession with chinos, at a time when you can hardly buy them anymore. Although I did find an awesome pair HERE this morning, they look a tiny bit more polished than the also lovely J.Crew pair above.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Winter is done and dusted in Hong Kong's shop windows

This cute dress makes me want to be very young, tall, thin, and rich. 
Find it HERE.
If this one is not for you either, don't worry, spring will bring lots of stripes, like this gorgeous J.W.Anderson skirt, or this fun Lemlem outfit, or this REDValentino short jumpsuit, or this Caroline Costas shirt, or this Rebecca Vallance dress.

Chanel Cuba Cruise Lace Ups

There is also a slip on version of the gold ones.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

My sneakers saved my dress

very old Phillip Lim dress, box fresh Raf Simons for Adidas sneakers

This Phillip Lim drapey T-shirt dress was one of my early Lane Crawford purchases after I moved to Hong Kong.  The shoulder detail dressed up the easy wearing cotton, and the loose shape allowed for a bit of muffin top.  But I wore it so much that I got sick of it.  Then the other day I picked up some Adidas at the Lane Crawford sale and thought of the dress.

Gucci at Elements in Hong Kong

I can't get enough of Alessandro Michele's Gucci.

The men's outfit in this display is my favorite. The sales girl assured me the men's size would fit me beautifully...  but then it didn't.

I am starting 5:2 this morning. 

Desperately need to shift the spare potato tire around my waist. There is a combination of mashed, roasted, and deep fried dipped in mayonnaise in there. A squishy fanny pack made of Idaho baking potatoes.

My Current Elliott boyfriend jeans have turned into skinny jeans.

A deep breath popped a critical button on my most reliable white J.Crew shirt, while I was wearing a ten-year old industrial granny bra. 
In public.

Blueberries for breakfast.

Enjoy your Mondays everyone.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Why not try a pantsuit on for size

J.Crew jacket and trousers
Saint James T-shirt
Gucci sneakers

The Women's March on Washington is on January 20, and I am symbolically standing by my fellow sex in a proper pantsuit. It feels quite serious to wear matching trousers. The wool fabric on the J.Crew suit is so soft, I had to check the label to see if it was cashmere. It's not, but the quality of the wool is outstanding. I have left the trousers a tiny bit on the long side, so they hang slouchily on my sneakers.

Find out how to join the march HERE.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 Resolution Time (Buy more Dior)

A cup of tea and some fashion news, HERE.

Actually, that's not a bad idea.  I desperately want Maria Grazia Chiuri to succeed at Dior, the house founded by arguably the most famous man in fashion history, who incidentally is known for designing some of the most feminine clothes ever.

Maria's work at her previous employer, Valentino, was stunning.  I sincerely hope Bernard Arnault will give her time to develop her style at Dior.

I watched a French movie on the plane home: Tout de suite maintenant, in which Isabelle Huppert carries a very simple and soft Dior bag with a thin palladium chain.  Her co-star Agathe Bonitzer wears the simple French classics, trousers with cotton men's shirts and blazers, a trench coat, and when she is dressed for dinner she wears a cream silk blouse with a long shawl tie and black trousers without any other embellishment.  That kind of French dressing is always seductive to me, but I am not sure it translates well to regular non-stunning women. It may just appear a bit dull.

The film's stylish simplicity does, however, remind me that beautiful quality cloth (for example the coat Huppert wears in the car scene of the trailer) is so obviously different from all the high street rubbish we wear nowadays.  For me the best classic fashion on film is found in I Am Love, with Tilda Swinton and Marisa Berenson.  It's depressing, but stunning.

My real 2017 resolution is to pay for my daily news.  I already have a subscription to The New York Times and the Washington Post.  In order to make sure broadsheet news does not perish, I think it is vitally important we start paying for our online news, just like we paid for our news when it only came in paper form.  The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph and the periodical The Economist top my list.

I hope I can convince you to do the same for the newspapers in your geographical area.  Aside from political and financial news the fashion writing in these publications is excellent as well, and you may still find fashion critics there, a long gone phenomenon in fashion magazines.

Whether it regards fashion, political elections or the war in Syria: it is of paramount importance in 2017 that we support freedom of the press, and quality independent journalism. It does not matter what your politics are, freedom of the press is crucial for the survival of democracy.  If you think freedom to publicly dissent is not an issue in your life, read this PBS interview with world champion chess player Garry Kasparov HERE.  Imagine living in a world where a champion chess player is not allowed to voice his concerns about his government's policies and then ask yourself if you want to live in such a world.  If you prefer the freedom to tell your friends at a dinner party that you think Clinton is a liar or that Trump is a vulgarian, then you should act by making sure these publications stay in business.  Read more about the current state of press freedom HERE.

I don't think I personally have the courage of a Garry Kasparov, or the courage displayed by critical journalists around the world every single day, but monetarily supporting the work these reporters do is an easy, yet meaningful contribution anyone can make in 2017.

On a personal editorial note, my mother received a letter while I was in Holland, from the son of a British soldier who was billeted at my grandparents' house for much of the second world war.  The letter informed us that Jack's widow had died.  The bravery of my grandparents, hiding two British soldiers from their German occupiers, is awe-inspiring to me.  And the courage of those young British and American men who risked their precious lives, often voluntarily, to fight tyranny abroad must never be forgotten.

Happy New Year - I hope 2017 will be a great year for you all.