Saturday, May 31, 2008

Do You Mini??

No, not the ad compaign for Mini Cooper..........


Mini versions of bags has always been a centerpiece for cuteness and elegance. At times, we are unable to resist the lure of this cuteness even though in your heart you know that this bag won't be able to carry the arsenal of cosmetics and gadgets that keeps you perky throughout the day. My fav would be the Veneta and its offspring -- mini-Veneta. Actually, correction, I love all the mini versions that Bottega has to offer. You even have to ask for some of them since they aren't on display such as the "Drop Bag" and the "Mini Sloane". Additional bonus for getting a BV mini would be that most of the mini series are sold only in Asia and won't be found in North America, which adds to the WOW factor when people see it.

Other brands also features their own collection of miniture versions of their "IT" lines. Gucci's Indy, YSL's Muse and Dr. Evil. They have all had their shine in the spotlight but with the introduction of the mini-ME, they will need to share their glory with a cuter version of themselves... Who could resist not grabbing a set or two of these cuteness? You can even be like Angie and Zahara and have a matching mother and daughter set. (Valentino's Histoire Bag).

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Theatrics in Fashion

Ever wonder what you could possibly wear if you had to attend a formal but fun party with the most fashionable movie stars? Pick items from fashion lines with a streak of theatrics as the main focus of your outfit. It will guarantee you a spot in the best dressed section of any magazine.

Shown on the left, Marchesa's Strapless dress, embroidered with swirl piping and beads ($5,445), is so intricate and special that it could be worn by the bride of a wedding in a once-in-a-lifetime-affair. Pair it with simple accessories for a modern chic. Never heard of Marchesa? The line is named after the eccentric European socialite Marchesa Luisa Casati. Launched in 2004 by British-born Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig (who were fresh grads out of fashion school at that time), Marchesa's glamorous dresses have graced the bodies of Scarlett Johansson, Mischa Barton, and Sienna Miller. If you can't afford Marchesa's prices, which goes upward from $3,000, check out Chapman and Craig's second line, Notte by Marchesa. Notte is more suited for making splashes at cocktail parties instead of the red carpet. Theatrical details are worked into more casual and vibrant dresses, and you'll be glad to know that Notte will be on sale on Gilt Groupe on Mon 6/2 at 12pm EST.

Then we have Christian Lacroix, who is so vocal about his passion for the theatre that his official website has a whole section devoted to showcase the inspiration he derived from each show that served as his muse. Lacroix made huge waves in fashion since early 1980s and received the "most influential designer" award in January 1987. The same year, he opened his couture house and in 1988, he started churning out ready-to-wear clothes, shoes, handbags, etc. On the right, his beaded T-strap pump (on sale at Neiman Marcus for $596) has the luxuriance and perfection that defines Lacroix's creations. If you are wearing a rather ordinary dress, this shoe will complete your outfit by bringing subdued sexiness and sizzling glamor to an otherwise lackluster palette. If you're in Taiwan, you can find this pair of shoes at the basement level of Sogo BR4.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

The sassy marriage of Suede and Patent

Alejandro Ingelmo, a fourth generation shoemaker from Miami (now based in New York), is getting a lot of notice for his metallic shoes this season, appearing in Town & Country, Vogue, and WWD in March, June, and July of 2008 respectively. WWD calls his shoes "city slick" and "stunners (that) glide from day to night". His designs are rising fast in recognition and even got Madonna's nod after she wore his shoes for her H&M campaign. He started his women's shoe collection in 2006 and his men's collection shortafter. Some of his shoes are on sale at Gilt Groupe, and the only one I LOVEEEE is the Spider shoes above ($278 sale price, but sold out). The overlaying of its straps is exotic and exciting. Note that the patent material is set on the backdrop of suede, which makes the strappings pop without being overwhelming. It's perfect for the dominatrix in me and it's so edgy that I could wear it with the frilliest things and still look cool. And cool is good. However, I can't get it at the discount price so I won't get it at all.

But to console myself, I did get a pair of peep-toe slingbacks from Charles and Keith (on sale for ~1500NT at the basement level of Breeze) back in March for my friend's engagement party. It's much more demure and lady-like (as it needs to be for engagement parties), but look!!! There is a thin strip of patent on top of the suede on my shoes too!!! And the fun tidbit of this story is, my first exposure to Charles and Keith was when my friend (the one whose engagement I bought my shoes for) visited me in Singapore back in 2000 and she bought a pair of white sandals, which she claims to one of the most comfortable pair of sandals she owned. It was so comfortable that she repaired it many times before finally throwing it away from too much wear-and-tear. Many of my cousins and aunts in Indonesia also buy Charles and Keith religiously whenever they visit Singapore, and they have gathered dozens of Charles and Keith shoes in their shoe closet. On another note, Charles and Keith has only been in Taiwan for about 3 years, and I'm sure many are glad that it's available here.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dark, unstructured bags under $2,000 USD

A friend of ours is looking to buy a bag under $2,000USD. She is sick of the boxy structure in her bag collection, and she hates getting her light-colored bags dirty. We couldn't resist dipping our fingers into this challenge: the search for the perfect, dark-colored, unstructured everyday bag for under $2,000 USD. Of course, a Bottega Veneta would be perfect, especially during such joyful period as the memorial sale in the States...a BV Julie, a BV butterfly tote, *mumble mumble, mumble*... ... ...ANYWAY, here goes.

From Bottega Veneta, let the bags speak for themselves.

First Line (left to right):

Second Line (left to right):

Third Line (left to right):

From Givenchy, consider the Nightingale bags in all kinds of sizes and skin (ranges from $1,495 to $2,195 at Barneys). Ashley Olsen carried hers around all of last year and the bag exploded in popularity with bloggers and Hollywood stars everywhere. While we're talking about Givenchy, there are many who loved the design of Givenchy's Bettina bags (the small brown Bettina costs $959, while the medium black one costs $1,049). Once you release the lobster clasp at the front of the bag, it becomes a tote shaped somewhat like the YSL downtown. Personally, I find that the clasp makes it hard for me to reach into the bag. Instead, I prefer Givenchy's Pluto shoulder bags (that I saw in person in the mall beside FarEast Hotel on Dunhua). A small purple Pluto costs around 47,000NT and a medium black one costs around 54,000NT. They are incredibly adorable since they were fashioned after a dog with floppy ears. Dog lovers beware of the hole it might burn in your pocket~~~...
From Chloe, we propose the Saskia Square Tote ($2,005) and the Padlock Leather Shopper ($1,718.63). I'm sure you will forgive us for including the Saskia Square Tote even though it is $5 over $2,000 and sort of a boxy shape. It is, however, wonderfully roomy and so eye-catching regardless of whether it is in taupe or in turqoise. Plus, you can wear it over your shoulders with the detachable straps or carry it by the Lucite handles. The Padlock Leather Shopper has the classic Chloe Paddington Lock on it and is big enough to carry anything you want with it. Drawback? The lock plus whatever you may throw in the bag will most definitely be a burden to your shoulders.
From Miu Miu, there is the Miu Miu Ruched Large Bag ($1,384.94) and the Leather Vintage Clip Front Shopper ($1,188.65). Imagine the 15" H x 19" W Ruched Bag in a dark color. If you like the balloon shape but wish it was more elongated, look for the Miu Miu Gathered Top Tote (Large for $1,270, and Medium for $1,080). As for the Clip Front Shopper, its dimensions are 14" H x 18.5" W x 6.5" D, and the cool vintage leather is the point here. The bag is simple, sexy, and entirely effortless.

From Lanvin, we present the Padova Sac ($1,855) and the Pirouette (Fall '08: retails for 1544 €). Both bags are subtle and luxurious. The Padova's shape is reminiscent of Bottega's Julie bag, but Lanvin's distinct strap and hardware detailing defines it. You might have to wait a litte for the Pirouette, a brown calfskin bag with blue water snake handle. The scrumptuous calfskin juxtaposed with the blue watersnake handle really sends ripples into my heart.

From Diane von Furstenberg, here's the Wrap Bag ($900), which incorporates her signature wrap style into this new and highly popular bag. In fact, it is so popular, it's sold out in many stores. I guess we can only keep our eyes and ears peeled for when stores get another shipment of this simple yet interesting bag.

From Mulberry's Spring and Summer '08 collection, you'll find the Agyness ($1,595). It's rather self-explanatory and has caught the eye of many since its appearance. Mulberry has been coming up in ranks in the opinions of bag aficionados. Also, if the Agyness reminds you of Jimmy Choo's Maddy bag with zippers across the front, at least Mulberry made the Agyness bag softer, with better lines and curves, subtle details (plaited details on the side), and more femininity than Jimmy Choo did.

From Jimmy Choo, you'll find several versions of the Alex Shoulder Bag ($1975 for the Suede, $2,175 originally and on sale at $1,522 for the Leather). While they aren't the freshest bags out there, their design is chic and modern.

From Jill Sander, the Braided Handle Hobo ($1,850) blows an ultralight breath of fresh air to all that sees it. If only we can find it online in a dark color... But don't lose hope! Something might turn up for the Fall!!! (FYI: Except for slight variations in shape and an absence of the pretty braided handles, Jill Sander has many black leather hobos online that are similar to the bag above.) The nappa leather spans 11" x 16" x 6.5" with a 8" handle drop.
From Sonia Rykiel's french design house, the Judy bag was borned out of her Spring and Summer '08 collection. Supple calfskin paired with braided handles, there is a lot of attitude in this bag despite its softness. One might also consider Sonia Rykiel's Darling bag, though it doesn't pack quite the same punch as Judy.

From Derek Lam, we present a kaki-colored shoulder bag called Hera Hobo with Ram Hardware ($1,450). The interior is divided with a center zip compartment and outer magnetic-snap compartments. Mildly distressed leather is ruched in the front and in the back, with a 7" strap drop. This bag is neutral and mysterious, as if it hides a soft and intelligent secret in its sleeves. It epitomizes Derek Lam's designs in its womanly and wry ways.

From Fendi, the Baby Spy Bag ($1,470) is included because it is so damn cute in person. In black, there is a young, dominatrix feel about the bag. The classic Spy became popular a few years ago and since then, countless incarnations, mostly hideous, have been forcefully impressed on our eyes and minds. That's why it is so surprising to see the Baby Spy and find it so easily digested and very pleasant to be around with! Armed with a 4½" drop on the double braided handles, this bag is about 13"W X 6"H X 7"D in dimensions. From Marc by Marc Jacobs, we had to post this well-made leather bag in case you haven't bought it already. The name of the bag is Dr. Q Groovee (rather funky, don't you think?). At the affordable price of $498, this bag is certainly a good buy from a known name. Unfortunately, it's not in stock right now, so look in-store!!!


Divive Bags that were too expensive...

Jimmy Choo Saba Bag from Spring/Summer '08
brown or black suede ($2,450)
black or off white nappa leather ($3,050 for large, $2,450 for medium)

Louis Vuitton Mahina XL and XXL
XL costs $3100
XXL costs $3900

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

The immaculate femininity of Teri Jon

Rickie Freeman For Teri Jon - Ruffled Dress
Teri Jon - Floral Chiffon Halter Gown

Rickie Freeman For Teri Jon - Taffeta Trench Dress
Available at Neiman Marcus at $335

Many designers come up with stunning and feminine dresses that women like me drool over. (Women like me love the romantic, estrogen-emitting, beautiful and flowing, and breathtakingly lovely look.) A lot of us already know designers like Vera Wang, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Donnatella Versace, who are all very successful women designers revered for their flair in showcasing the beauty of the woman body. Of course, their specialties are varied. We have Vera Wang and her wedding dresses collection, Diane Von Furstenberg with her prolific wrap dresses, and Donnatella Versace's dresses on Hollywood stars as they walk down the red carpet. But the one element they must share is the know-how of fit, style, and fabric selection, such that when we buy from these names, we KNOW that we have a piece of quality and style.

Today, we feature Teri Jon, an equal in quality to other famous women designer brands. Created by Rickie Freeman, the daughter of a tailor and owner/designer of Teri Jon for 25 years, this design house packs immaculate couture structure and exquisite details into their dresses, outerwear, and separates. A less-known brand to the masses, Teri Jon is nevertheless celebrated for its divine silhouettes (read: smartly-cut, and forgiving shapes), its intricate beading and ornamentation, as well as its affordable ready-to-wear prices. How does Teri Jon achieve its high quality tailoring? Imagine trying on every piece of clothing in all 15 of her collections each year before they go into production. Tell me this isn't worth some accolades.

Just look at the dresses and the trench coat above. The red ruffled dress has tiered ruffles reminiscent of Victorian times, and yet a tinge of Spanish sassiness can be found in the rest of the garment. The floral chiffon halter gown is as heavenly as any, and at a fraction of the price you would find on other similar gowns. Lastly, the Taffeta trench dress takes a classic design and adds to it classy elegance (an interesting shade of the season’s hottest color: orange), a fun twist (a stand-away collar with drawstring), and youthful oomph (bubble hem!!!). For those of us who are bored with the straightforward classics in women dressing, Teri Jon is definitely something to look out for.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

2.55 on friends - exciting colors

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Louis Vuitton Clutches '07-'08

Louis Vuitton '08 Summer clutch - The Monogram Motard "Afterdark" (USD$1,860)

Louis Vuitton '08 Summer clutch - The Monogram Motard "Beforedark" (USD$2,940)

Clutch bags have been the rave for the past couple of years and they have been appearing so uniquitously that I doubt you could have missed it. This summer, Louis Vuitton collaborated with Richard Prince and came out with a pair of Monogam Motard clutches. The "Afterdark" bag is an interesting version of the foldover clutch, while the "Beforedark" bag can only be described as a dainty evening bag pretending to be a clutch pretending to be an evening bag. Both bags combine monogram motard leather, silk lining, and golden brass pieces for a mix of modern and retro elements. A removable acetate chain strap gives the "Beforedark" bag more versatility and character, while wide handles on both bags makes them easy to hold onto.

Ok, so that's kind of cool. But the romantics in some of us may crave a softer and more glamorous look. And if you are a fan of LV, you really don't have to switch loyalties. Just last Fall, LV came out with a gorgeous oversized clutch in metallic shades. Scarlett Johansson posed with it and they looked absolutely scrumptous together. Made out of wool and silk Monogram Limelight, natural cowhide leather trimmings and twill silk lining, the unstructured nature of the clutch may not be everyone's cup of tea. Yet, there is something to be said about the marriage of softness (in the materials) and boldness (in the size and metallic colors). Personally, I feel that the Monogram Limelight does exactly what its name promises and brings attention to whoever is carrying it. Just be wary of what might be brought under the spotlight!~

Scarlett Johansson in the Fall '07 LV ad campaign holding a Monogram Limelight in Pearl. She became the face and spokeperson for LV in early 2005.

My friend holding a Monogram Limelight in Copper, Louis Vuitton's clutch for Fall '07

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Price tag on a 3/4" platform: $231

Christian Louboutin Peep Toe Suede Platform: $770.00
4 3/4" covered heel

Christian Louboutin Suede Peep Pump: $539.00
4" covered heel

A lot of us secretly or openly love playing the "Spot the Difference" game. Who can blame us? It's fun! I'd also bet that unless you're a masochist, you love comfortable shoes just as much as I do. So you must have heard of Christian Louboutin, the line of famous red-sole shoes claimed by many Hollywood actresses to be the most comfortable high heels ever made.

So what is so different about these two shoes? Both are made in black suede and styled in the season's most popular peep toe form. Both are sexy and feminine. Can you spot the difference?

YES! The correct answer is the platform in the front and an extra 3/4 inch in the heels of the Suede Platform. The Suede Platform has a sturdier heel that tapers off very evenly and gradually. On the other hand, the Suede Peep Pump has a cuter, more concave curve to its heel, making it more womanly than the strong and confident Suede Platform.

I know what you're thinking. Is the difference really worth $231? Is the price merely a reflection of the amount of material used to make the shoe? In fact, why wouldn't the Suede Peep Pump be more expensive for its more realistic height?

Well, my guess is, height matters. Women buy heels to make their legs look a mile long, in order to wear floor-dragging gowns. Women buy heels to look pretty in for a few minutes before they find a spot to sit to take the pressure off their feet. So the Suede Platform wins in the extra 3/4" it gives to the wearer's height. And perhaps there is something sultry about the way the Suede Platform lifts your toe off the ground. Just perhaps, the Suede Platform provides more room for fantasy than the Suede Peep Pump. But hey, that's just me...

The only place to find Christian Louboutin shoes in Taiwan is in the store On Pedder at Sogo (敦化) and Taipei 101.

P.S. my fave CL continues to be this impossibly high slingback I tried on at On Pedder.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Jill Stuart Cosmetics comes to Taiwan

Recently Taiwan has started to import Jill Stuart's cosmetic line from Japan. For those who are unfamiliar with Jill Staurt, she is a fashion designer from New York, launching her first line of cosmetics in 2005. In Asia, Jill has become quite popular amongst the Japanese crowd with products featured in various fashion magazines.

The introduction of Jill Stuart - cosmetics to Taiwan has proven to be a success, with its most popular blush compact (腮紅盤) already sold out in Taipei. However I was able to score some eye shadow's (眼影) for a friend along with an eye lash curler (睫毛夾). The eye shadow is featured inside a fantasy like arcrylic case while the eye lash curler has a cute crystal hanging from the handle. Both items are highly recommended by my friend and is a hot item this summer.

Jill Stuarts can be purchased at Sogo Zhong Xiao Store (忠孝店) or Mitsukoshi Hsin Yi (信義) A8 Store

Eye Shadow - 1450NT
Eye Lash Curler - 400NT

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

A perfect Mother's Day gift

I'm sure many of us have been troubled by the challenging task of choosing a Mother's Day gift for our moms. This year, it wasn't hard for me (at least not on my brain) to find the perfect gift. Why?? Because my mom made it pretty obvious that she wanted a Large 2.55 Classic Flap from Chanel.

As many of you know (and if you don't, you should take note), the 2.55 bag was designed by Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel herself and has been a classic icon for the Chanel brand since February of 1955 when it first launched. Many of you sexy girls out there own at least one of these, or if you don't, you probably wanted to at some point. However, did you know that the 2.55 bag actually refers to two different designs? One is the 2.55 "reissue", which is, as the name states, a reissue of the original 2.55. The other is the 2.55 Classic Flap, a variant that was designed by Karl Lagerfeld in the 80's. The most noticeable difference is the lock at the front of the bag. The reissue uses the rectangular Mademoiselle Lock while the Classic Flap uses the interlocking CC lock shown.

Not that any of that history makes any difference, both are still stunning bags to have. But next year, if your wallet needs a little burning, you can always consider the Chanel 2.55 as a Mother's day gift. It will definitely score you some brownie points!!!~

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