Friday, 17 August 2012

Hansel A/W12: Perfect Puffins!

Perhaps you don’t know but my first piece ever from a Singaporean designer was a gorgeous blouse from Hansel. This was on my first visit to this little red dot and even before I moved here a few months later.

Even then, my mission was simple: To shop only from interesting local labels and boutiques which I could brag about when I went back to Dubai – a place with virtually no local design scene to speak of.

In fact, walking through Haji Lane and later on browsing at Hansel's store in Mandarin Gallery was when I realised this was going to be a great place to live. 

After moving here I had the opportunity to meet and get to know so many other great local labels which I absolutely fell in love with and continue to support and buy, but Hansel remains firmly on my list of favourites.

Puffin collection from Singapore label Hansel
Cute puffins everywhere at Hansel this season!

Puffin collection from Hansel, puffin brooch too!
Can you see the little puffin brooch on my dress? So adorable!!!

The reason is simple, apart from being extremely colourful (a huge plus for me!), it has a very distinct identity and it is one of the few homegrown labels which has managed to get a mass appeal beyond the usual ‘fashion crowd’ and find its way into the homes of ordinary Singaporeans who pick it up for its easy and cute appeal.

Taking inspirations from various unpredictable objects and themes (my favourite was the previous Kueh Lapis cake-inspired ‘Tiers of Joy’), Hansel keeps proving that fashion does not have to be trend-driven or timely but more of a self-expression, a certain style which reflect the wearer’s character and mood.

Their latest collection ‘The Puffin’ which is launching this coming Monday (August 20) is no different. It’s cheerful, fun, unpretentious and embodies that whimsical feel which the label is now synonymous with.

Hansel store in Mandarin Gallery, Orchard Road, Singapore
Love the shop decorations!

Bonjour Singapore in wrap print puffin dress from Hansel
Look1: Who doesn't love a wrap dress? The colour, fit and material of
this printed dress is spot on. Fun and effortless.

Rana Wehbe-Flinter wears a yellow dress from Hansel
Look2: Yellow is my favourite colour! This dress is so comfortable yet chic!

You have to excuse my extremely tired eyes in these photos! Done the shoot after a long
day of work but still decided not to photoshop them on purpose ;-)

A lot of local labels do edgy and trendy and Hansel doesn’t try and compete with that. On the contrary, it creates a niche for itself for being stylish, wearable and practical and as far as I’m concerned it succeeds in that.

Jo Soh, the designer and founder of Hansel label explained to me the thought and design process which goes behind each garment and helped in Hansel's sucess.

She says: 'When I design, I always consider first where the garment would be worn (as in, at work or for casual weekends or for cocktail parties), then I think about what features that garment needs to have in order to be appropriate for that environment, then I consider the different body types, then I look at the whole thing and ask myself if it's hansel. 

We edit out a lot of design ideas before we settle for the final ones that you see in the shop! I am personally particularly proud that our customers' age range is expanding, from the target 25-35 years old, to include women in their 40s and 50s.

The new collection is full of cute dresses, cheerful Puffin prints and beautiful shades from fun and flirty blue, purple and yellow to work-friendly grey, black and white. I absolutely fell in love with it! more so when I went to the boutique yesterday to try the pieces for myself. The quality was also outstanding, whether the cute super comfy printed Hello Hansel frocks, or the more understated structured and peplum dresses which look so chic and fit perfectly. I was very impressed!

Look3: Work-friendly with a cute touch, I like how hansel managed
to include this season't hottest trend ' the peplum' in the collection,
where the shape is also inspired by the puffin's feathers.

The fit of the dress was perfect!!! I felt so elegant in it.

Rana Wehbe-Flinter in Hansel knit peplum dress
Look 4: This knit dress is soooo comfy! Again loving the peplum!

Puffin accessories from By Invite Only in collaboration with Hansel
How cute are these accessories done by Trixie from local label
By Invite Only for Hansel's new collection?

Apart from apparel, the label is also known for the cute accessories which accompany each collection and are usually the first thing to get snapped up. For ‘The Puffin’, Hansel has collaborated with Trixie Khong from By Invite Only label to create an array of beautiful accessories that go with the collection. And she couldn’t have picked better! I love the cute and slightly dainty golden sets featuring fish and puffins, but my favourite ppiece has to be the statement feather necklace which is really hard to miss!

In total I tried 6 looks from the new collection yesterday. I would have definitely tried more but not all the pieces had arrived especially the knit dresses which judging by the campaign images look too adorable! But still with the ones I managed to try, the result was a big dilemma on what to bring back home as everything looked gorgeous and fit very well. Comfortable and stylish, I couldn’t have loved this collection more!

Bonjour Singapore in Hansel print dress with necklace from By Invite Only
Look5: The necklace, the dress... just makes me feel so cheerful :-)

Bonjour Singapore in silk dress from Hansel
Look6: These photos don;t give this beautiful silky dress justice! I love
the colour and the material...

Hansel x By Invite Only collaboration in the new collection

So which dress did I get at the end? I decided to leave it for Monday to choose and pick it up at the launch party where Hansel is giving 20% off the new collection!! But meanwhile would be great to know which dress YOU think I should get and which is your favourite Puffin look in the comments below ;-) 

The official launch of the Puffin collection in on Monday, the 20th of August but some of the pieces are already available at the Hansel shop in Mandarin Gallery #02- 14, Orchard Road. You can also shop the collection online soon, and follow them on facebook and twitter for the latest updates.

More pieces from Hansel's new collection which I also loved but
are not yet in store until Monday!

Puffin dress from Singapore label Hansel

white Hansel dress with black shoulder detail

Dark grey Hansel puffin dress

Dark grey Hansel puffin dress