Showing posts with label haji lane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label haji lane. Show all posts

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Bonjour Singapore is one year old today! Thank you for your support!

Bonjour Singapore is one year old today, and what a journey it’s been.

I could never have thought when I posted a polite introduction as a relative newbie to Singapore on October 18, 2011, that I would be where I am now.

What started as a way of keeping in touch with my friends, killing time while I job hunted (still unemployed BTW) and sharing my new found passion for the talented local designers in Singapore has snowballed into something of a crusade.

I always wonder if many of the designers I approached or blogged about initially thought “who is this crazy curly haired foreigner?” but they smiled sweetly and helped me out anyway. 

Now one year on I have met so many talented people, made some amazing friends and been adopted by the Singapore fashion community as one of their own. It makes me realize that Singapore is a place with so much heart and soul.

Rana Wehbe-Flinter in Pauline.Ning
One of my favourite photos of myself (wearing Mae Pang). It's my
anniversary so I'm allowed to post a pic or two of myself :-) Thanks for
John Tan of Streetpeek for the photo!!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Hadasity: Hand made statement jewellery from Singapore

When it comes to accessories, for me it’s go big or go home!

But even those people who prefer more dainty and classic pieces, they probably still agree that the more unique, spontaneous and preferably hand crafted the piece is – the better.

It's ironic that despite Singapore's leaning towards minimalist style, there seems to be a great deal of home-grown interesting and unique jewellery labels, one of which happens to fit right into my style–Hadasity.

I first came across this label at Soon Lee boutiquein Haji Lane and fell in love with the colourful and unpredictable pieces mostly assembled from vintage trinkets and wires. Recently I got a chance to meet Hadassah Lau, the extremely talented woman who designs and handcrafts every single piece at a Hadasity event to launch their new September collection.

Singapore jewellery label Hadasity
One of Hadasity's unique and stunning necklaces! So random
but beautiful...

Hadassah - founder of Hadasity jewellery label
Hadassah is as bubbly as her creations and clearly loves
her craft!

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?

Monday, 7 May 2012

Threadbare & Squirrel: Haven for Singapore Designers

From the strapline of my blog, you would have guessed that Haji Lane is one of my favourite parts of town. No, not because of the sheesha cafes but the cool independent shophouse-boutiques which give this tiny alley its quirky and laid-back atmosphere – unlike lookalike malls-infested Orchard Road.

But despite the street’s unique indie character, I was disappointed on a recent visit when I saw more boutiques selling generic blogshop-type clothes than the local designers and unique finds, which made this street popular in the first place.

Only a handful of shops remain true to what this independent shopping heaven stands for – one of them is Threadbare and Squirrel, a multi-label boutique which has recently relocated to the adjacent Bali Lane to distinguish itself from the clone shops which are increasing day by day on the stretch of Haji and everywhere else in the city.

Display of the newly-stocked local labels at Threadbare & Squirrel: A.K.A. Wayward,
LION EARL, Primary and ZAAK.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Singapore label Amado Gudek: statement jewellery made with love

When I choose accessories, I hardly ever do delicate. Accessories are meant to stand out and add character to a plain outfit so the more it is a ‘statement’ piece, the better! Big, bold and full of colour is what makes them distinctive.

So it’s no surprise that when I went to Dulcetfig (aka accessories heaven – read about it here) on Haji Lane, the first things to catch my eye were Amado Gudek colourful raisin-made pieces.

What makes Amado Gudek accessories stand out is first and foremost their unusual inspirations which push the boundaries on what makes an interesting piece of jewellery. Case in point is that for the latest collection, the designer behind the label, Elaine Tan, took inspiration from the Anti-Antler – as a slight mockery on how deer are constantly hunted for their antlers whether for Chinese medicinal reasons or just decorative ones.

Statement necklaces Amado Gudek's newest collection 'Anti-Antler'
where each color is named after a famous reindeer. The red one
on the far right is called Rudolph of course :-)!

Friday, 9 December 2011

All I want for Christmas is… A cheery statement handbag from Fabulous Fads, Haji Lane

If you’re planning on keeping it simple when it comes to your dress this Christmas (I will for once), there is still one way to make you stand out from the crowd: a cute handbag!

Forget the monogram totes and bejeweled clutches and opt for something original, unique and a conversation-starter pieces like those stocked at Fabulous Fads on Haji Lane.

When I recently visited this quirky boutique, a lot of handbags and clutches caught my eye especially these 3 in particular.

First are the eccentric and pop-art inspired arm candy (literally) from British designer Helen Rochfort. My favourite is the Wonka Bar (S$145), partly because it makes me feel young again and everytime I see it, I can’t help but hope for a golden ticket inside :-)

Love these Helen Rochfort bags especially the Wonka Bar one!!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

All I want for Christmas is… DorisWorks handcrafted dictionary jewellery!

Today’s gift idea is a simple, affordable and very original one: jewellery made from old Chinese/English dictionaries, encased in resin.

I came across Doris Tian’s beautiful creations last year while shopping in Haji Lane and I ended up buying ‘wisdom’ cufflinks for my husband then. Needless to say, he loved them!

 'Forever' brooch (S$22)

Custom-made 'Aim high' cufflinks (S$28)

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Q&A with Chula: Vietnam's fresh and fun take on silk dresses

Even in the most isolated countries in the world, it’s quite rare these days to find a contemporary fashion label (regardless how big or small) which is not influenced by seasonal trend.

The result is, people everywhere end up dressing the same. Naturally some do it stylishly and some don’t.

I’ve always had great respect for those who defied the trend and went on to establish their own identity and style, not inspired by anything or anyone else. They start from scratch and keep that distinctive appeal about them which is best described as raw and artistic.

Hanoi-based label Chula is one of those fashion brands which developed their own look and products (mainly dresses and coats) based on nothing but the love for expressing fresh ideas and style. The result is not as understated as many would like, but rather unique and bold.

Love this dress with the pagoda illustration from 'Japan' collection.
Looks like a piece of Asian art... but a wearable one :-)

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Q&A: The new Singaporean HOT label Noël Caleb

The first time I spotted (and felt) a Noël Caleb’s number in Haji Lane, I could tell right away that this was no amateur-designer stuff which are very common around.

The quality of fabric, impeccable tailoring and sophisticated style (with plenty of attitude) stood out that you might as well have put it in a designer department store and it wouldn’t have looked out of place.

Love this combo! edgy, colourful but not over-the-top

I am not a colour-shy person but I have to say that wearing colour is tricky sometimes, especially when you’re looking for a more mature (but not boring) look, not your average tweeny summer dresses. Many women including myself who are over 20-something find that sometimes the only alternative is to stick to the safe black and white or a more muted palette. The designers at Noël Caleb seem to understand this and offer an alternative; a variety of mix-and-match pieces which are colourful and fun but not over-the-top and most importantly trendy, stylish and wearable all at the same time.

What I love about Noël Caleb is the versatility of their pieces as well. There are a lot of separates which can be worn and layered in so many ways and given a twist to form an even more individual look. I haven’t seen any bland or boring piece and I find this quite impressive since even the most talented designers resort to ‘basic’ pieces sometimes which don’t really add any value to the collection.

The mixture of bright (but not too loud) colours, edgy cuts and interesting fabric has already won me over and I had to learn more about the people behind this new label. And so I did, and here I share with you some information about what I expect to become one of the hottest home-grown names in fashion very soon!

This Natalie skirt looks cute and fun!

Q: What is Noël Caleb?
Noël Caleb is the meaning of Christmas and Devotion combined. It is an independent label from Singapore sewn with every fashion designer’s heart and love. We seek to redress the fabric of the ladies’ femininity and we have created 7 compatible looks for every day of the week, helping every girl look effortlessly stylish from Monday to Sunday. From dress-and-jacket ensembles to smart casual trousers and tunics, every day is a date to remember.

Q: When did it start and why?
Noël Caleb started in February 2011, as it wanted to re-establish the look of how a lady should look – feminine, graceful and gentle on the outside, but strong in the inside. Not rebellious, rude or gothic-looking as this is a “goodie-goodie” brand. Also, there are far too many labels out there which are mostly in black or white. Noël Caleb inculcates colour wearing in the every-day girl. Thus, every piece of the label is wearable, able to mix and match easily, while making the girl looks fashionable and forward in a colourful manner.

This Kryptonite skirt can be teamed with so many things! I prefer the purple version though (no pic)

Q: The inspiration behind it?
The inspiration behind it is a whole team effort – the fashion designer, creative/ art director, photographer and the marketer. But we prefer not to be known, as the recognition comes from the fact that the label is growing in its acceptance/ awareness even though we are only less than a year old.

Q: Who do you design for?
We design primarily for the working women aged 24 to 36 years old. These ladies have purchasing power, and are fashion-conscious. They are well-travelled, well-read and they look stylish daily be it in casual or formal wear.

Q: Price range:
Our prices range from S$80 for a top, from S$120 for a pair of bottoms and about S$200 for a dress.

Alexandrite dress in a more muted brown

Q: Tell us more about your collections and favourite/signature pieces from each:

Honey and Rock collection:
In the Honey in a Rock collection, multi-faceted geometric gemstones are constructed into shapes and shades of fabric, in all the precious stone tones of a girl's best friends. The beauty of this collection is the paneling and details from inside and outside that depicts the multi facet / lines of the gemstones. This collection has yet to be launched online, but we have some stockists in Singapore carrying some of the pieces. The actual launch of this collection will be the end of this year.
Some of our favourite pieces are:
Kryptonite skirt a soft jersey skirt given a structural edge with geometric overlays.
Alexandrite dress takes centerpiece, with smart paneling detail to mirror the many facets of a gem.

Love love love this Alexandrova skirt!!!!

“Ballerina Diaries”, Noel Caleb’s debut collection:
Inspired by the archetypal Parisian ballerinaNoël Caleb’s debut collection “Ballerina Diaries” draws from her grace, strength, poise and femininity. It is a collage of float and flounce – from gentle layers, chiffon and drapes to structural strength with twists and binds. The polka dot is chosen as a cheery print that is timeless yet trendy, effortlessly young and vibrant. This collection is available online at of our favourite pieces are:
Alexandrova: a layered twist draped skirt with a cheeky centre-part and quirky side zip.
Nathalie: a circle skirt that flares open when twirled and falls to body when static.
Paloma: an edgy cotton jersey shrug available with or without sleeves.

 Maybe this colour is more me? (I can't help it!)

This cute and versatile Paloma shrug is perfect
for a touch of layering in humid Singapore

Q: Where to find it?
Very much an online store, one can find our pieces at We are also currently stocked at the following stores: Dulcetfig @ Haji Lane, Egg3 @ Mandarin Gallery, A-Mod @ TripleOne Somerset, Circa @ Parco Millenia Walk and Foot Fetish @ Palais Reinassance.

Q: Any news or collection coming up and when?
We are currently working on our 3rd and 4th collection, which will be launched in a few months’ time. As the brand’s vision is to connect with more people worldwide who love fashion, we intend to kick-start an incubation program whereby fashion designers and marketers from all over the world could benefit from Noël Caleb and from here, we would like to promote talented fashion people globally.  
Noël Caleb welcomes writers, artists, curators, designers, marketers and anyone creative who wish to enter into the fashion world to be our network of associates by sending in their resume to

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Dulcetfig on Haji Lane: Accessorize your life

Vintage, Avant-garde, quirky, kitsch, modern… you name it, despite their different styles, everything at Dulcetfig looks unique and original!

Lovie Wong (and Jack) at her colorful boutique
This small shop on Haji lane stocks local labels as well as some funky accessories from places like Australia, Greece and the U.S., as long as its owner sees that it fits the theme of her cool boutique best.

Lovie Wong who opened this boutique 5 years ago makes sure her shop doesn’t become just another outlet for mass-produced merchandise by stocking very limited number of items from each label and mostly one piece from each style.

What I love about this place is its eclectic feel and that every corner you look, something pops out and sometimes it’s hard to concentrate on one thing only! You definitely need at least an hour to look at everything properly.

The clothes at Dulcetfig are mostly vintage or local labels like Noel Caleb and the quality and tailoring is better than the average standard you see in these kinds of shops. This is reflected in the price as well where a satin blazer (Noel Caleb) retails for SG$189.

A satin blazer from local label Noel Caleb (SG$189)

As for accessories, I think this is what the shop does best. From local labels like Amado Gudek raisin-made rings and necklaces (starting from SG$29 for a ring) and L’ile Aux Ashby geometric designs, to English label Lucie Ellen’s kitschy necklaces (SG$22-25) and my favourite pairs of colourful earrings by Dancing Dangles (SG$60 average), every item looks individual and original.

L'ile Aux Ashby funky necklaces and brooches

Amado Gudek raisin-made accessories (starts at SG$29 for a ring)

Fun and kitschy: Lucie Ellen accessories

Who said both earrings should look the same? Dancing Dangles gives me a reason to disagree
(starting at SG$58 for a pair)

I especially love the traditional/modern mix in some of the labels, namely the Hong Kong-based Singaporean Cherie Wong’s buttery leather clutches with their use of the traditional jade bangles (SG$149) and US-based Tree and Kimball handmade dyed lace earrings (SG$49) and necklaces (SG$59).

Cherie Wong's clutches with traditional jade bangles (SG$149)

Beautiful lace accessories (SG$49-59)

Dolcetfig also stocks one of my favourite shoes labels, Melissa, whose rubber-made, environmentally-friendly pairs are perfectly fitted (and stylish) for a rainy place like Singapore.

It’s hard to pick what I like most in this shop but I definitely agree with Lovie that the vintage clutches and bags are probably her best treasure. Ranging from SG$50 to SG$190, these bags are sourced from Australia and the U.S. and carefully picked by the owner herself. My pick would be the gorgeous mesh evening bags which come in various colours and look absolutely stunning!

Melissa's rain-friendly shoes (SG$90-190)

I love the wooden bucket bag (SG$150)
Vintage evening mesh clutches

More stunning vintage bags: SG$149 and SG$189
My verdict: If you like everything colourful, interesting and unique (and of course vintage bags) then Dulcetfig is a must-stop for you because regardless of your budget, you’ll definitely find something that you love to take home!

Dulcetfig is located on 41 Haji Lane, Singapore. Tel: +65 63965648.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Standing out for not being different

With rows of boutiques in the painfully trendy Haji Lane fighting for attention, one store stands out oddly enough for trying to blend in with the crowd.

Bellezza Couture stands out with its rather sombre choice of display

Shockingly there isn’t a pair of fitted chinos on display, but that is precisely the USP (unique selling point) of the new store Bellezza Couture.

Its owner Amanda Chiang has fulfilled her childhood dream by opening the tiny boutique just 2 months ago.

Sisters Amanda and Anjelica Chiang at their boutique

And while its staple of light separates - ideal for work, lunch or those who don’t want to plump their feathers in public – shouldn’t appeal to Haji Lane’s immaculately-coiffured crowd, it is obviously doing something right.

Because while Belleza Couture is currently what real estate agents might creatively call ‘cosy’, the store is currently working on expansion plans to take over the floor above.

While I admire the drive (and am jealous of the ambition), I don’t quite get the logic behind what must be an expensive location.

Despite the pretty pieces in the shop, the adherence to the Singapore monotone office code (except for few blazers and a Cristopher Kane-inspired galaxy print top) makes it look rather bland in comparison to other shops on the same street that made a reputation by being unique and individual.

Christopher Kane's 2011 Resort Collection, and a top with the
similar galaxy print (SG$39) at Bellezza  Couture

A rather interesting mix: chiffon and faux leather shirt (SG$49)

Finally some color!!! Bright blazers to light up any dull work wardrobe (SG$69)

The clothes and shoes in Bellezza Couture are local or Korean-sourced and the prices range from SG$29 to SG$79 which seems quite reasonable especially if you compare it with same quality but more mass-produced pieces from the likes of Forever21 and New Look. So at least it’s good value.

I did like a few items in the shop but very little stood out in terms of originality and uniqueness.
The one exception – and it is a big exception – was a pair of spiked loafers which I will go back for once I’ve figured out what to wear them with (or convinced myself that I’m not gonna hurt anyone with!)

Clearly my favorites: Spiked Loafers in grey or black (SG$59)  

Leopard-print oxfords (SG$39)

Honestly, I donno who would wear these but kudos to them if
they manage to pull them off! (SG$49)

My verdict: Bellezza Couture caters for the average everyday girl on a budget, who is looking for clothes which are understated, stylish but not a style statement; and shoes which are not made for the faint hearted. I don’t see the logic in that but well they might just make the right balance!

Belleza Couture is located on 29 Haji Lane, Singapore. Tel: +65 6299 4298 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            +65 6299 4298      end_of_the_skype_highlighting