Monday, 30 April 2012

Bonjour Beirut: Introducing Singapore to Lebanese labels

Bonjour my Singapore friends!

As you know I have been back home in Lebanon for the past fortnight. But that doesn't mean the fashion wheel stopped turning.

As well as updating my blog, I've been catching up on the latest labels and trends from back home. Once I'm back I'll post a weekly series on Beirut's hottest labels. Hopefully it will be of interest to you all!

As a starter, I'll just do a few introductory sentences - with some photos of course - to show you what's in store and to compel you to keep watching. Kind of like those ads for the terrible movies on Channel 5, but with fewer CGI giant sharks.

I'll start with Sarah's Bag. This label is a phenomenon in the Middle East and I think it would go down a storm in Singapore. It's being carried by all the famous Arab celebs including Queen Rania of Jordan.

Python skin Sarah's Bag
Sarah's bag is a Lebanese success story, handmade bags with a wonderful backstory

There is a beautiful story behind the label which I'll share with you when I post. It's certainly not your ordinary fashion brand. In the meantime here is a picture of one of their latest bags inspired by Africa. Hot right?

On the other hand, Azzi and Osta are some of the new hot designers in Lebanon, making custom pieces from pret-a-porter to couture style. They're inspired by vintage cuts and their work is a world away from the Zuhair Murad style of overstated glamour. I've spoken to the designers and will be featuring the label in the blog soon.

As incubators go, Singapore has tonnes of enthusiasm but not quite so much know how. I think the powers that be could learn a lot from Starch, Lebanon's version of ParcoNEXTnext if you like.

Azzi and Osta - I wanted to steal this dress and smuggle it to Singapore!!

With designers Malaika and Dina Khalife at the opening of Starch Boutique

Dina Khalife's printed scarves - even my old classmate is a fashion designer now!
The project was conceived and started by one of Lebanon's most celebrated designers (which I guess gives you a clue as to why it works so well) Rabih Kayrouz. So it's lovely to see that once these guys hit the big time and start dressing A-listers, they don't forget where they came from.

I attended the re-opening of the space last week and it was an eye-opener, I'll be writing about new designers such as Malaika who does amazing contemporary accessories focusing on raw material and unusual technique and Dina Khalife, who was my classmate throughout university and is now producing scarves, tops, dresses and skirts in her amazing original prints.

There will be other things to come to - but I'll leave you with a nice family photo of my beautiful sister Ghenwa. Just to prove that huge hair runs in the family ;-)

It's been wonderful spending time back in Beirut, but I'm really looking forward to getting back to Singapore this week. So many events and so much to write about it seems!! I've missed you!!

Super curly sisters. Me and my sister Ghenwa relaxing at her place in Beirut

Thursday, 26 April 2012

AUDI STAR CREATION 2012: Q&A with the eighth finalist Ling Siu Gin from Malaysia

Today’s Q&A is with finalist Ling Siu Gin from Malaysia whose collection ‘Manimal’ drew inspiration from two music videos, ‘Lions in Cages’ by Wolf Gang and “Paradise’ by Coldplay. Read on to find out how her fantasy-like collection came together.

Finalist Ling Sui Gin from Malaysia

Name of designer: Ling Siu Gin (Malaysia)
Age: 21
Name of Collection: Manimal

  1. What made you participate in the Audi Star Creation? How did you hear about it?
I heard about Audi Star Creation from my lecturer, Ronney Henry, from Raffles Design Institute (Kuala Lumpur). As we were designing our graduation collection, he encouraged me to give the competition a try. I saw it as a chance for me to gain experience, to find out where my design abilities stand and how far I can go.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Stunning underwater shot from Singapore photographer Cornelyus Tan

You may remember some time back I introduced you to a friend of mine who I billed as an up and coming young photographer.

Well it seems that young Cornelyus Tan has already upped and moved on from doing shoots to help promote bloggers who have zero modelling skills :-)

Take a look at this photo that he shot in the pool in my building over the weekend. The shoot (which was a collaboration with Leonard Chua from Pix Story) wasn't for a label so it has nothing to do with anything that I'd ordinarily be interested in promoting.

I was just amazed at the beautiful picture that emerged from the session and wanted to share it with you all.

A Siamese fighting fish/mermaid hybrid in my swimming pool!

AUDI STAR CREATION 2012: Q&A with the 7th finalist Liang Wang from China

The only finalist from China is 27-year old Roderic Wong who was inspired by human anatomy for his collection ‘Tissue of Being’. One thing which Roderic stands proud of is his manipulation of fabric and unusual textures he chose to use. See what this aspiring designer has to say about his collection.

Name of designer: Roderic Wong (China)
Age: 27
Name of Collection: Tissue of being

  1. What made you participate in the Audi Star Creation? How did you hear about it?
I heard about Audi Star Creation from my lecturer Liz Thng last year. She suggested that I should give it a shot. I am looking forward to show my work on the bigger stage. What’s more exciting is the one-year internship for FJ Benjamin in Singapore. The experience of living and working in such a multi-cultural country will be good for me in the long run.

Monday, 23 April 2012

EXCLUSIVE: The clouds are here, but the SS2012 Depression has lifted

I've made no secret of the fact that I think Depression is one of Singapore's best labels.

The design duo of Kenny Lim and Andrew Loh have been making waves both at home and abroad over the past year with their indefinable brand of edgy but cutesy streetwear.

Their current collection made it into the pages of Vogue and saw Black Eyed Peas superstar Taboo become their highest profile customer.

Now the brand is back with their SS2012 collection "CLOUDING OF CONSCIOUSNESS" and I've been lucky enough to have been given an exclusive sneak preview of the entire collection.

There are blue skies ahead for Singapore's Depression label

Friday, 20 April 2012

CINABRE: The neck dresser of Paris bringing bow-ties and scarves back to Singapore

French label CINABRE has been wowing visitors to Singapore Men's Fashion Week with its playful but chic bow-ties and exquisite silk scarves.

Pictures really cannot do justice to the wonderful tactile experience of the scarves, and quite how massive (and therefore) versatile they are.

Likewise his bow-ties which really are fabulous additions to any men's outfit with a quirky red detail on the back and some wonderful tailoring and fabrics.

Now you see why he's called the neck dresser of Paris

Thursday, 19 April 2012

AUDI STAR CREATION 2012: Q&A with the sixth finalist Ko Youngji from South Korea

Currently studying in Paris, the sixth (and the oldest) finalist of the Audi Star Creation is Ko Youngji from Korea. Youngji’s collection draws inspiration from dance and literature and translates it in a way that is personal to her experience living in Europe at the moment. Read what she has to say about this interesting collection and the story behind it.

Name of designer: Ko Youngji (South Korea)
Age: 32
Name of Collection: Li Jin

  1. What made you participate in the Audi Star Creation? How did you hear about it?
I’m currently studying at l'Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode (ESMOD) in Paris. There, I learnt of the various fashion design competitions around the world and was able to look at the collections of the previous Star Creation winners through the website. It made such an impression on me that I found myself waiting for the call for entries for this year’s competition. I want be able to take part in this competition and stand on the same stage like those impressive designers did.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Why I'm proud to be a B.A.D. girl

I have a confession to make. I'm a B.A.D. girl!

But it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and the reason I'm leaving the country for a couple of weeks has nothing to do with being kicked out. In fact, it's something I'm rather pleased about.

Because being a B.A.D. girl means I'm Backing Asian Designers. It's a new initiative to raise awareness of emerging local talents in the region and encouraging people to go out and shop local. 

B.A.D has been launched by Singapore-based website, the luxury e-commerce site bringing you the crème de la crème of Asian designers. From Thailand to Vietnam, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia and of course Singapore - the breadth of coverage is pretty impressive.

Among the Asian labels on is the awesome Thai label
Second Issue (remember it here?) from which this gorgeous dress is.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

AUDI STAR CREATION 2012: Q&A with the fifth finalist Kim Yong-Woo from South Korea

The fifth finalist in the Audi Star Creation fashion contest is Kim Yong-Woo, whose collection takes inspiration from the concept of space and three-dimensional imagery. It's actually one of my personal favourite collections of this competition! Read on to see what he has to say about the competition and his designs.

Name of designer: Kim Yong Woo (South Korea)
Age: 27
Name of Collection: The Existence of Space

  1. What made you participate in the Audi Star Creation? How did you hear about it?
I came across the competition while I was surfing the web with a friend during the Christmas season in 2011. The moment I saw it, I knew I had to take part. I was attracted by the lucrative prize money and opportunity to do an internship with FJ Benjamin in Singapore, if I win.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Parco next NEXT party: celebrating the launch of 18 new Singapore labels and young designers

The 14th of November, 2011 was the first time I got invited to a local fashion event. It was at Parco and I still remember Wey, the designer of Veira bags sending me an invite as an excited newbie on the blogging scene.

I remember going with my hubby, not knowing a single person or designer showing. Fast-forward 5 months and here I am, just as excited and attending the launch of yet another batch of young local designers at Parco – only now I know almost everyone and was surrounded by friends and familiar faces.

A model showing one of Revasseur's colourful designs during the mini-show

With Genevieve, one of the designers behind 20:twothree

Saturday, 14 April 2012

We Want Beautiful Shoes: Party in heels, flats, pumps, shoes, shoes, shoes!!

You know someone is serious about foot candy when the company is called Surrealist Love Scene AND they throw a party called ‘we want beautiful shoes!’

Apart from having the best name in Asian fashion since Indonesia’s Nipples Revolt, these guys are also hosting the best event in town, and one which I’ll be marking down on my calendar.

So don’t fret if you miss it this time around. The ‘We Want Beautiful Shoes’ party will take place every 3 months for a whole weekend.

Basically imagine yourself as Alice in Wonderland, only here, you’re surrounded by the most fanciful shoes you’ll see around town and all the signs should say ‘wear me’ or ‘buy me’.

Fiona (left) is leading the revolution for fanciful shoes!

Shoes or candy? It's hard to tell!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Weekend want(s): HOT picks from Parco next NEXT's 18 new labels – launching tomorrow the 14th of April!

In some places I've lived, supporting local fashion is an act of charity, cheering for uninspired rich kids playing at being designer.
But make no mistake. The scene in Singapore is more like London than Dubai. These new kids on the block have got the talent by the bucket!
From funky streetwear to perfectly-tailored work attire, original prints, and glamorous sharp cut frocks, the third batch of new designers at Parco next NEXT have got it all covered in their maiden collections which launch officially tomorrow, Saturday.
Despite having seen – and shopped – some of the collections this week, I’m looking forward to the launch party which will be the second Parco launch I go to since moving to Singapore (see here my first launch review).
One of my first purchases from the new designers at Parco next NEXT
is this cute t-shirt dress from MASH UP. Totally my style, Love it!!!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

AUDI STAR CREATION 2012: Q&A with the fourth finalist Kim Soo-Jeong from South Korea

The second Korean finalist of Audi Start Creation (I’m running them in alphabetical order by the way!) is Kim Soo-Jeong. The 24-year old’s collection ‘The Coexistence of Embossed Carving and Intaglio’ uses fabric in an unusual way to create carving effect on the garments. Scroll down to read more about the young designer’s work and ambitions.

2nd South Korean finalist of Star Creation, Kim Soo-Jeong

Name of designer: Kim Soo-Jeong (South Korea)
Age:  24
Name of Collection: The Coexistence of Embossed Carving and Intaglio

  1. What made you participate in the Audi Star Creation? How did you hear about it?
When I heard about Audi Star Creation from one of my Professor Jin Sung Mo last year, I thought that this was a golden opportunity to start as a designer and be known in the fashion world. He taught me Foundational Design and helped me a lot in finding my direction in fashion. I feel very excited about the idea that I could be featured in a fashion show all the way in Singapore! This was an opportunity I did not want to miss. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

AUDI STAR CREATION 2012: Q&A with the third finalist Kim Mina from Korea

South Korea had the most number of finalists (4 out of 12) in the Audi Star Creation competition this year and for the following 2 weeks, I’ll be running the Q&As with each of them every Tuesday and Thursday.

Today I start with Kim Mina, 24, whose collection ‘Piece to Place’ shows some interesting  cuts and colour combinations and is inspired by Korean Architecture. Here’s what she had to say about her work and the competition.

Kim Mina's collection 'Piece to Place'

Name of designer: Kim Mina (South Korea)
Age:  24
Name of Collection: Piece to Place

  1. What made you participate in the Audi Star Creation? How did you hear about it?
I found out about the competition late last year when I heard my friends talking about it. I decided to find out more on the website, where I saw the collections of the previous finalists. I felt a strong urge to participate and decided to go ahead with it. As Audi Star Creation is a major fashion design competition in Asia, participants always bring a variety of fresh creations to the table, and a lot of support is given to the finalists. It is a dream competition that any budding designer will want to join.

Kim Mina from South Korea is one of the 4 South Korean
finalists of this year's Audi Star Creation.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Society of Black Sheep: Bringing a real edge to Singapore's fashion scene

I love edgy fashion. In fact I admire people who wear it so confidently and pull it off so easily. Maybe you don’t see so much in Singapore but if there was anyone to dare, they wouldn’t find a better place to get those cutting edge pieces than The Society of Black Sheep boutique in MBS.

It is the last place you'd expect to find edgy fashion. The kind of boutique that wouldn't look out of place in Notting Hill or Greenwich Village and here it is, next door to the Gucci and Prada superstores in The Shoppes at MBS.

While I am really not edgy by nature, I’m rather adventurous in my sense of style and always up for experimenting and trying different styles on. Boring is definitely not an option here!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Weekend Want: Edgy and colouful platforms from Malaysian label Chic Yamada

Over a lunch conversation last week, I realized that for the past 5 months I have been on a shoe diet! Yup, as shoeholic as I am, I have successfully managed to avoid adding a single pair of shoes to my collection!

Although I always see cool stuff here and there, I have decided that unless it is something different from anything I have, cooler or bolder I’m not buying it.

With my avant-garde heelless Marc Jacobs, blinding neon yellow platforms and edgy (and practically un-wearable) McQueens, I doubted I would find a pair which is any bolder – that is until I stumbled over these Moccasin platforms from Malaysian-based label Chic Yamada. Foot candy at its best!

These Yamada platforms would fit perfectly in my eclectic shoe collection!

Can't decide which colour combination is best...

Thursday, 5 April 2012

AUDI STAR CREATION 2012: Q&A with the second finalist Jaslin Ong from Singapore

Time for the second Q&A with one of the Audi Star Creation finalists! If you’re not sure what this is, read my previous post about the competition and about the Q&As which I’ll be posting with each of the 12 finalists every Tuesday and Thursday. I promise you, there’s a lot of talent to see here!!!

Jaslin Ong from Singapore

Name of designer: Jaslin Ong (Singapore)
Age: 21
Name of Collection: Devastate(d)

  1. What made you participate in the Audi Star Creation? How did you hear about it?
I heard about Audi Star Creation when Textile and Fashion Federation representatives came to give a talk about it in campus last year. I took part because it feels fresh and interesting, and I feel I have a shot at winning it. And of course, the attractive prizes and experience if I stand a chance to win!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

AUDI STAR CREATION 2012: Q&A with the first finalist Eugenice Chen from Singapore

When I first moved to Singapore and started this blog, apart from the fun and excitement I wanted to share, I had one thing on my mind which I wished to concentrate on and keep as my ‘mission’. That was and still is, highlighting young talents from Singapore and the region.

Since then, I had the pleasure of meeting and discovering a lot of them especially through the Parco incubator program which allowed me to see the first-hand how hard-working, determined and talented  some of them are and I couldn’t be happier to dedicate a big part of my blog to show off their work.

Recently, another scheme promoting Asian talent has caught my eye and I decided to equally give it the coverage it deserves especially that it has great deal of promising talent. This is the Audi Star Creation - a fashion design competition open to all aspiring Asian designers who reside in the region.

Audrey Lim, one of our three winners in 2010. She is working now as an Assistant
Designer with the Design and Development team in RAOUL.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Granny's Day Out: Singapore's hidden vintage gem

Despite its recent popularity and return in Vogue (thank you Kate Moss!), vintage is still an enigma for a lot of people who until today are hesitant to try it.

Some flatly refuse the concept and consider vintage no different than any second hand rags (yup back home they do!). 

And despite liking the idea of it, others just simply don’t know how to wear vintage and get confused with all the colours, styles and patterns and shy away to avoid looking like a costume character from an era long gone!

An eternal lover of everything vintage (from my wedding dress to my mom’s frocks, bags and shoes…) I am here to help! And I found just the right place to show you some tips and tricks in rocking vintage.