Thursday, 30 August 2012

Bonjour Bali: Quarzia does Chic Batik in Seminyak

Bali is synonymous with batik and most shops you walk into on the island will be selling some form of batik to tourists. But while impulsively buying a cotton or rayon sarong is a norm, very few (if any) would wear it once the plane takes off and lands back at home.

It’s pretty but maybe not as chic and practical to fit in our modern wardrobe. But if you really love batik like I do and appreciate the labour-heavy yet worthy process which goes behind these beautiful patterns then fret not because batik has undergone a modern and an uber chic transformation at one boutique – Quarzia.

While based in Seminyak, the hip and glitzy part of Bali, Quarzia is founded by two Italian designers (Simonetta and Marco) who fell in love with the island and decided to make it home to their Batik-specialized label.

Batik from Bali's Quarzia

Silks batik from Quarzia in Bali
The batiks at Quarzia - like this gorgeous silk one - are all made using
the traditional technique famous in Indonesia.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Carrie K Keepers IV: Showcasing amazing artisans in Singapore

I think everyone knows about my love of Singapore based jewelry label Carrie K – but it’s not just the amazing craftsmanship that makes them a standout brand for me.

Apart from their always innovative accessories, Carrie K also happens to organize fantastic events that push my buttons on two fronts. Namely that they are trying hard to support fellow local artisans and that the ‘Keeper’ events are always a journey of discovery, the antidote to the cookie cutter mentality of a lot of the fashion world.

The latest Carrie K Keepers (That's number four in the series) takes place tomorrow on Saturday (August 25) at the atelier in Bukit Timah Road and as well as showcasing her new Mint capsule collection, also brings together a handful of unique artisans under the theme of Flights of Fancy.

Carrie K's new mint collection
Carrie K's new collection 'Mint' is a departure from the label's usual style
but as unexpected and inspiring nevertheless.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Dzojchen: Making Denim and Leather cool in steamy Singapore

If you ask any stylist worth their salt for the must have items in anyone’s closet, the list would most likely include a great pair of denims and a leather jacket.

The reason is that these two specific items have transcended seasonal trends, styles - and even gender - and proved to be just as classic and vital to any modern and stylish person as a great LBD for women and a perfect blazer for men.

But as an all-year round summer destination, Singapore may not exactly be the perfect place to don these usually heavy items so it was a surprise to stumble over a Singaporean label which focuses exclusively on denim and leatherwear.

Dzojchen first caught my eye during Audi Fashion Festival, where I fell in love with their super chic and effortless style which would look right at home in uber fashionable cities like NY and London.

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!!!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Singapore lounge-wear label Les Affaires: Go to bed and wake up with style

If you ask me, sleepwear is so underrated. I mean just because people on the street don’t get to see us in them, it doesn’t mean that an old t-shirt and a pair of worn out shorts should constitute what we go to bed with.

When I say sleepwear I’m not talking about lingerie though. I’m sure all my female readers will nod their head in agreement when I say that while sexy, lacy underwear is definitely not comfortable enough to drift off in.

So why are we so attached to the 10 year old t-shirt? The argument is always that nightwear is supposed to be comfortable, not fashionable. But what if both were combined?

Luckily, a new Singaporean label, Les Affaires has taken it upon themselves to convert the doubters and is showing us that practical and stylish loungewear does have a place in our closets.

Some of Les Affaires designs can be easily mistaken for daywear
like this gathered dress which I would team with a necklace and
sandals to pop out and run my errands around the neighborhood!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Stingray arm candy from Malaysian label KLutched

If you thought my penchant for eel skin bags was a tad unusual, wait until you know my ultimate leather of choice when it comes to bags… drum roll… Stingray skin!

Yup, again it’s a marine creature that produces the toughest and most durable leather you can ever find which also happens to be so chic, understated and probably the least underrated of all kinds.

Ever since my first encounter with this beautiful textured leather, I fell in love and was curious if I could find any Asian designer using it in their products. On my first visit to Bali I did at one of the coolest boutiques on the island (will be blogging about it after my second visit in a couple of weeks!) but sadly the clutches I wanted were all sold out and I ended up buying my husband a stingray wallet instead.

But I kept looking and finally my search is over! Malaysian handbag label KLutched seems to have read my mind and I think I finally found my perfect stingray leather bags, just across the border!

No kind of leather, in my opinion, comes close to how chic yet understated
Stingray skin is. This KLucthed miniaudiere and iphone cover demonstrate that!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

SUNDAY UPDATE - Max Tan at Copenhagen: Exclusive LIVE behind the scenes update

In case you don’t know yet, Singaporean designer Max Tan is taking part in Copenhagen Fashion Week for the coming few days and he’ll be sharing his behind the scenes experience from the VISION tradeshow and his solo fashion show through Bonjour Singapore.

This is going to be a constantly updated post (twice a day at 8pm and 1am Singapore time), where you can follow Max’s journey through his snapshots and words.

You can find out more about Max Tan in Copenhagen Fashion Week and an exclusive look at the SS13 collection he’s showing by reading this story.

Max Tan has arrived in Copenhagen! Check out what he's been up to below...

MAX.TAN Exclusive: SS13 max.tan collection and behind the scenes at fashion shows

Happy National Day!

While a lot of us (including non-Singaporean residents) are celebrating this day on the little red dot itself and enjoying a day off work, one Singaporean is being a busy bee – and all for a good reason.

One of the most known local designers outside Asia is Max Tan. Ever since he emerged on the fashion scene a few years ago, Max has been going from strength to strength and with 2 labels under his belt (max.tan and Liquid), it is safe to say that he’s established a name for himself outside of this island and his designs been shown on international runways (guess what, he’ll even be showing in New York next month!)

So what is Max doing today? Well he’s currently in Copenhagen, taking part in the VISION tradeshow for few days and the debuting his max.tan SS13 collection at his first Solo fashion show on the 12th as part of the Copenhagen Fashion Week. That’s not all, straight after, Max is flying to Koh Samui  (Thailand) for the prestigious and highly exclusive Nikki Beach Fashion and Lifestyle Weekend where he’s doing another show – this time he’s showing Liquid and will be the opening show (on the 18th).

With a lot of parties and preparations in between, Max must be a very busy and stressed man – but nonetheless he decided to share his experience with all his fans back home – exclusively through Bonjour Singapore (yay!).

Exclusive look at the new max.tan SS13 collection
max.tan SS13 collection images, released for the first time here :-)
Keep reading to see them all...

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Bangkok Frocks: Five must see labels from Thailand

When it comes to travelling I admit I’m obsessed with planning. Despite the availability of tour guides and internet sources, I always insist on making an hour-by-hour plan which ensures I see everything I came to see on my holiday.

While most of my planning is about sightseeing, I also like to have some sort of plan for the shopping part. Just to save time and make sure I don’t get led by well-meaning taxi drivers to overpriced touristy shops.

My planning skills are about to come to the fore when I go to Bangkok later this month. I’ll be accompanying my husband on a business trip, but he’ll be busy during the days. And that means one thing – a three day long shopathon!

I’ve compiled a list of boutiques and shops which I’m looking forward to visit on my trip. While this is not the full list, it is a snippet of what I’m looking forward to most. And experience taught me that as good as it is to have a pre planned itinerary, it’s always good to leave some time for what I do best – wandering around and discovering even cooler places by accident.

Kloset is high on my list of Thai labels to see when in BKK! Just love the
whimsical details...

Monday, 6 August 2012

Roccoco Kent: Another great addition to the Singapore vintage fashion scene

The key to great vintage shopping is to never stop searching, as the best bargain of your life could be hanging on the next rail.

I didn’t know it until now, but the same rule obviously applies to vintage shops in Singapore.

Just when I thought I had the best old school shopping experiences in the little red dot covered (recording my finds for posterity in Time Out Singapore), I stumbled over yet another little gem which definitely deserves a place on my list: Roccoco Kent.

Stepping into this tiny cubbyhole of a place in a non-descript shop house in the Kampong Glam area is like being transported to another era, with rails of clothes juxtaposed against a backdrop oddities and curiosities (think typewriters, tennis raquets and side-tables) from a bygone era.

It is like you walked into the set of a retro movie, except its real and practically everything on show is actually for sale.

The small narrow Roccoco Kent oozes with charm...

Vintage jewellery anyone?

Friday, 3 August 2012

IEX Asian Heritage: Giving History a Fashionable Twist

Before I became a blogger, fashion played a big part of my life and was an essential component of any of my many travel itineraries. But believe it or not, there was one other thing which interested me (and still interests me) even more and constantly determines my next destinations. I’m talking about art and heritage.

As consumable as fashion might be, I’ve also always considered it to be an art form and a way of expression which has an esteemed place in the greatest museums in the world and has more to it than the surface value. Just one look at how fashion and culture intertwined in history is enough to show its cultural and even social value – from ancient times to modern day.

My idea couldn’t have been translated better than when I witnessed this marriage of heritage, culture and fashion in the shape of the IEX Asian Heritage project which launched this week at the Asian Civilisation Museum.

White Pauling Ning dress from the IEX Asian Heritage project in Singapore
How cool is it to know that this PAULINE.NING dress was inspired
by a piece of artifact in the museum? And yes, you can even buy
it now! That's museum shopping taken to a different level!

Singapore designer Diane Tang's scarf and necklace is inspired by pieces from the Asian Civilisations Museum
Want more? Here is a scarf and necklace by Diana Tang, a talented young
Singaporean designer who also took inspiration from precious pieces
of Asian history