Jan 29, 2009

the plaza retail collection

At the literal crossroads of luxury shopping, on Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, Manhattan's iconic Plaza Hotel is hoping to draw the attention - and cash - of shoppers with a sprawling new retail concourse featuring high-end design and luxury merchandise at dozens of elegant boutique spaces.

Before the 101-year-old Plaza underwent a $400 million renovation beginning early 2007 that turned it into a combination of hotel rooms and condos, the downstairs concourse area housed decidedly unglamorous utility, kitchen and laundry spaces.

All that changed as part of a makeover that transformed the concourse into a key element of the hotel's Plaza Retail Collection - 160,000 square feet of exclusive boutiques and food purveyors spread over several floors--all in a bid to heighten the prestige and draw that is already one of NYC's iconic locations.

The collection has been painstaking curated, and has been slowly creating a steady stream of fashion buzz from december 2008, when press releases regarding the new tenants and their respective boutique renovations began to hit the web. The boutiques have opened piecemeal since Oct. 22, one exclusive cocktail party at a time.

High-end labels appealling to the Fifth Ave shoppers include the following retailers:


i wish i had actual interior photos to accompany this--but the West Coast is on my travel itinerary for now, so i may have to scour the web a bit more. 

Jan 28, 2009

cheap or chic: logomania

chinese vase, decorated pussywillow plant, yellow teacups, spiral staircase (2007)

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
sorry for the silence... it's been a happily frenetic time for me, visiting extended family and catching up with 1, 2, 3 times removed cousins uncles and aunts. through it all of course one tries to maintain a semblance of balance and moderation, but CNY is not a occasion that lends itself any middle ground. 

thus, speaking of middle, mine is rapidly growing amid the mountainous tumult of the endless sweet treats of the season...way to renege on one's new year's resolutions! thankfully i didn't make any promises and therefore cannot break any. outfit posts in another entry! while my new home can't accomodate the same decorative excesses as in past years like above, i'm still glad for the occasion and its accoutrements! 

cheap or chic #1: stephen sprouse x LV
more monogrammed LV

stephen sprouse x LV was a wonderful idea, and his now-iconic neon rose is truly a wonderful example of current, hip pop artistry. the problem i have with the collection is its complete embrace of true flashiness--neon + graffiti + monograms + roses.... it's all just a bit Too Much To Handle. 
matchy neon monograms

a rose/signature/scrawl or 2, that's acceptable. but to put it all together in a cacophonic explosion of neon garishness is NOT an update of the LV brand but a poor attempt at making its appeal more relevant/street/pop art/etc. of late, it seems these limited edition collections are the brand's modus operandi, money-spinning-wise. and on that count, i cant fault them.

orange green pink-- it's all the same when so luridly emblazoned

marc jacobs' shameless plugging of his designs notwithstanding, the potential of a cutesy print on leggings has been overshadowed by the incessant, over-the-top juxtaposition of pink with green with orange with monogram with graffiti... 
less really is more, and in this case, the reverse holds true too. 

CHEAP, NOT CHIC.
 

cheap or chic #2: citizen's American Quilt

This handmade art piece combines 58 iconic logos of mass-market retailers, fast food chains and other corporations synonymous with America. They have each contributed to the creation of the contemporary North American identity and condition, yet we feel ambivalent or even negative toward their hegemony over our cultural and economic landscape. 

just as a traditional quilt provides comfort, can a contemporary twist on the American identity provide the same amount of cultural identification via the institutions and corporations that essentially make up America? i don't recognize all of 4 out of 58 logos--really showing how far the identity of the country has been molded and stretched by these brands, with their heavy hand in product placement and consumer branding. 

maybe fashion can have a conscience too, by playing a role in forcing us to question our identity, rather than to lamely hanker after something that's been inflated to appear more worthwhile than it truly is. fashion is an art, and art is meant to be stimulating, discursive, didactic even, so why can't what we wear make a statement sometimes?

CHIC, NOT CHEAP. 

Jan 24, 2009

why hello there, mr lam

dearest Mr Derek Lam

it is with utmost admiration that i write to you--your sportswear sensibilities (honed at Michael Kors, i'm sure!) and love for clean lines have translated so beautifully into elegant yet girly dresses. 

i love your precise silhouettes and fine fabrics, and while it is 4 years too late, congratulations on winning the CFDA Perry Ellis Swarovski Award! 

PS: and thanks for all the good work you've done at Tod's  thus far.

Sincerely and with love, 
Andrea

Jan 21, 2009

the maiden lune bag voyage

so, after much deliberation and many entries on the balenciaga lune, i have been irrevocably pulled into the vortex of its loveliness. 

and as you can see, so has mizz gwyneth paltrow. 
(btw, i never understood her name nor its bizarre spelling. then she goes and picks 'chris', 'apple' and 'moses' as the most important people in her life. just so, you know, her name remains SPECIAL.)

AA u-neck tank top, calvin klein gold hardware skirt, pedder red leather platforms.
painful expression: BYOB.

i carried this bag with a gold-heavy outfit because of the fact that the bag's got gold accents too...i'm rather picky about the fact that all the accents in my accessories need to match--hence, no silver jewelry when carrying a bag with gold. 

the shoulder strap i mentioned previously has FINALLY been delivered...so as you can see, i am carrying it that way, just because. the single complaint i have is that the bag is Extremely heavy-duty...so i try not to fit in an additional 2.4kg of my Mac's goodness.
the original, without the shoulder strap. again, i still don't see why they cant make it with a strap!!! all their bags have straps!!! at least the bound mirror's intact...

i have no idea why i look so angry in all these photos! maybe its because i'm re-wearing a skirt within 2 weeks, and even worse, posting the pictures up. but i believe in getting your money's worth.
WEAR AWAY! :)

Jan 20, 2009

lauren moffatt: color and print

lauren moffatt is named only after one half of the design duo behind this hip label. her collaborator, partner and boyf is designer ron pepin. how sweet to combine love and work!

this is their 10th year in business (love story: unknown), and lauren moffatt's design principles have been unchanged since then:
an eye for Candyland colors and prints combined with simple sihouettes and accented with little details like patterned trim or a vintage button.

patterned accents are done very well by the duo, making for very coherent collections and simple but identifiable pieces. signature, yet subtle.

much is told of the legendary first samples lauren and rob brought to hip NYC boutiques, hoping to score some buyer interest:
a bright green strapless dress with a pink patch pocket, a yellow and white striped A-line skirt with pink leather trim, a green skirt with lime green lining and an orange antique button.

the result? a hip NYC brand fit for young individualistic (and picky!) buyers, including blake lively. it is now carried in selective stores, both online and instore, such as shopbop.com and hedra prue, alongside hot labels like m by mj, milly, alice +olivia and vena cava.

in other news, i've dived right into life and its current demands. would be nice to have a soft ol' safety net like the dude up there.

Jan 19, 2009

cheap or chic: calendar napkins

designer stas aki has come up with a novel way for on-the-go individuals to keep track of their dates-- by CALENDAR NAPKINS!!!

dont you just love the idea? granted, you're limited to one piece a day, but build it into your daily routine and you have a great alternative to cracking your brain/checking your cell/watch/etc.
and, if you hide the dates in a napkin holder...i guess you get a morning surprise everyday!
kitschy? maybe. cute? definitely!
i vote CHIC...and given the price, CHEAP too.
here's too a more organized new year ahead. cheers!

Jan 16, 2009

detailed cardigans by ADAM

one wardrobe staple in every woman's closet is THE CARDIGAN. 
recently, i found some really awesome cardigans with unique detailing from ADAM by adam lippes, from NYC. he began his line in 2004, and already he's been...
 
named as part of Vanity Fair's "The Next Establishment" in 2007, his designs are classic, with an emphasis on quality materials, in particular knits. no surprise then, that these cardigans are sought after and made of fine fabrics. 
 cable knit cardigan with metallic braid detail

what impressed me was the amount of workmanship put into each cardigan--what conversation pieces these regular warmers he's turned them into!!! all the cardigans i possess are hardly charming-- just soft pieces of cloth, with the most detail (on a calvin klein) being restricted to little ruffles and velveteen piping. 
PSHAW! look at adam lippes' stuff! 

knit cardigan with giant chain detail
 
the giant chain detail COMPLETELY swept me back to hussein chalayan's fabric chain necklace circa 2005...which was later reincarnated by the ever-so-colorful united colors of benetton, as modelled here by the fabulous susie bubble...
susie with her benetton giant chain necklace
just a random fashion reference i thought i'd share!
 
anyway, back to ADAM: while the knits are pretty pricey at US$300+ per cardigan, i'm sure the fabrics are impeccable, and the detail he so lovingly incorporates into these functional pieces of clothing... resultingly, adam lippes is as of now on my radar!

cynthia steffe crochet bolero

today, i decided to be a little more girly--mainly because i wanted to incorporate a recent purchase: a reddish-vermillion crochet bolero. (i have no exact color-word!)
cynthia steffe bolero, american apparel u-neck tank, ember circle skirt (folded at waist), repetto patent leather classic ballet flats

and this is it, closeup..
.the material is really thick and heavy, which i didn't expect, given how most of the steffe clothing i'm familiar with is limited to light and Very Pretty Party Dresses.
just imagine how thrilled i was to discover this bolero just over the weekend, AFTER featuring her designs!

with the afternoon light streaming in

the crochet essentially reveals whatever you're wearing underneath it...

folded skirt, zip exposed
it had a really thick waistband, so i decided to fold it at the band to make it look like a skater skirt, much like what the high street stores are selling now (OVERPRICED at $80+ for essentially nary a design in sight)

i think you can see the fold at the waist more clearly in this photo.

repettos!!!
i need not continually sing their praises, you all KNOW how fabulous the French Ballet-commissioned flats are. in fact, i shall do a post on their wonderful packaging sometime soon. the prettiness will make everyone rush down to on pedder to buy them, stat.

and i guess, in the spirit of ballet flats, i attempted a measly curtsey (without the bow).

essentially slightly too girly for what i'm currently channeling, but it's always good to mix things up once in a while! do you mix up your style, or stick to your fashion guns????

Jan 14, 2009

francesca versace for alldressedup

francesca versace, niece of the late gianni as well as current honcho donatella, recently collaborated with homegrown label and international emerging darling alldressedup.
the fruits of their combined labour have been released on the label's website. here are some shots of the capsule collection...
filled with a predominantly neutral palette, the collection seems poised to sufficiently embody the simple chicness that alldressedup is already favoured for. the tan accents are on pointe and au courant, lending an appropriate edge to the sweet outfits. 

metallics also feature heavily in the small collection, (about 20 outfits which is...approx. 40+ pieces??) albeit in the same neutral shades seen throughout. harem pants and shorts are the main carriers of the shiny fabrics. 

more shorts and sleeveless tops--the SS09 collection is definitely suited to the summer climate! while francesca's aesthetic is more pared-down compared to the opulence of her uncle and the sexiness of her aunt, showing skin is perhaps an inclination that runs in her designer blood.

a small minority of the outfits are dresses, aside from all the city-chic casualwear. the short hemlines are a constant, which make all these perfect party dresses in the summer heat. lightweight fabrics are still used to complement the simple designs.

main features detected:
  1. short hemlines + sleeveless designs = limbs limbs limbs. please exfoliate!
  2. strappy sexy sandals make feet an unexpected focal point and lengthen legs. 
  3. loose, lightweight fabrics are complemented by light colors.
  4. metallic and tan accents take centrestage, with some primary color splashed in. 
all in all, not a bad first time collaboration! while her aesthetic wasn't what i expected based on her famous last name, the 2 seem to be a good match, with the label's casual chic style kept very intact.
 but alldressedup isn't H&M-- it doesn't need too many of these designers for its already-established pedigree. 

cheap or chic: canvas bags

this is an IT BAG

so...someone other than the originally creative anya hindmarch wants to launch an apparently anti-consumerist, witty take on luxury bags. just some thoughts:
  1. it's already been done to death. beginning with "i am not a plastic bag", even karl lagerfeld has a cheapie "shopping bag". its 2009, please.
  2. US$500 for a canvas tote? all the francais in the world can't buy good value-for-money. 
  3. CHEAP, not chic. sorry!
tommy hilfiger + free arts NYC canvas bag

tommy hilfiger used a photograph from artist jeremy blake to produce a chic, quintessentially American canvas tote (very in line with the hilfiger empire!), the proceeds of which will benefit photography programs for inner-city underprivileged children. 
  1. a quiet yet profound nod to American culture AND heritage through the simple juxtaposition of 2 images--no need for any try-hard catchphrases!
  2. a bag that's environmentally friendly AND that benefits low-income kids? that's a double whammy right there.
  3. CHIC. TOTALLY CHIC. 

Jan 13, 2009

pastels

recently, i've found myself in need of a clutch...being desperate, i resorted to carrying old OLD bags that were falling apart. sometimes, a tote or satchel jsut doesn't cut it, and many of my bags are big and functional like the slim, lune and the parttime. 

ENTER: my mother, and her choice of the MJ Eugenie clutch.

the eugenie is a two-toned cow leather foldover clutch with a metal clasp-- simple clean lines and very functional, which is just the way i like bags! all the photos i managed to find online were dark and/or bold colors, very different from the one we got...


as you can see, we got the clutch in a pastel color. debate is still raging over whether it is a light blue or a grey shade of leather...i still maintain it is the latter! anyone authoritative wanna weigh in on this?

while i adore marc jacobs' clothes, i've never felt the same way about his bags...i never took to the quinn or the stam or any of the rest, save for my mustard M by MJ satchel. however, being in such dire need of a clutch, i was immediately gratified when told i need no longer be a bag-hobo.

the metal clasp closure, engraved subtly with his name

i must admit, i have grown to love this bag and its versatility, because it goes with most outfits, being so simple, and neither is it a flashy bag--i hate that, and anything that screams "BRAND!!!!" we're not paying to advertise. i only have one photo in which i'm carrying the clutch, so here it is, taken a few weeks ago, last year.

DIY satin skirt worn as tube dress, calvin klein blazer, MJ clutch

 i know this photo doesnt say much--about ANYTHING, but i figured at least it isn't just an object statically photographed. excuse the headless figure--its me with my lips pursed, mid-word in conversation. needless to say it was not fitting to post THAT. 

pink pastel bags i meant to share a long time ago...(click if you need to read the text bigger)

since we're on the topic of pastels, here are just 3 pastel bags i really like. never been a fan of anything too girly or sweet, but i think these 3 are rather exquisite works of art. 

cheers!


Jan 11, 2009

black magic

a slight preview of...(CLICK for a closeup to see deets)
more on these LATER!!! and onto: the feature presentation

black is just one of those colors i never tire of. thankfully, neither do others, nor the fashion industry. even in the colorful SS09 collections, black made itself heard. 

ann demeulemeester

a regular fan favorite (not unlike other similarly monochromatic staples rick owens, yohji, junya,  kawabuko, et al) with, and because of: her signature relaxed layers and jackets, with the addition of crystal embellishment, skinny trousers, bunched tops and THOSE shoes.

givenchy 

riccardo tisci wasn't above sexing up the french house-- evoking a descriptive lexicon of bondage, hardcore, leather+lycra, skintight, crossback, hemlines, cutouts, deep-Vs: not unlike christophe decarnin's fellow franco-hawt collection. hard to resist. 

so, BLACK: SAFE & BORING???
HARDLY.
from layered and relaxed at ann D to full-on (and full-frontal?) and edgy at G, black is but a color-- sihouettes, textures and detail can easily change the look. some picks!

commuun drapey top 

an internationally-awarded korean label (lvmh, longchamp), the exclusive use of organic fabrics serves to enhance the deconstructed sihouettes' simplicity. 
i really love the way the fabric falls and drapes. takes skills to do that, folks!

alexander wang vest + scarf

yet another fashion-insider darling (thou IMO hugely overpriced!), his retooled basics in luxurious knits have won over hordes. erin wasson as muse, model and walking advert adds to the appeal, along with his smiley grunge chicness-- you almost believe you could look like that too. but a cfda/vogue trophy can't hurt a designer's profile!

ann demeulemeester pleated vest

this belgian doesn't need to depend on her gouden spoel fashion award for street cred, she's got it in droves. minimalistic and simple without being safe or boring, superior construction and detailing make this a clincher. just look at the pleating!

and, 
taking a leaf out of recent fashion books (figuratively, of course...), more detailed shots of my previously-featured pedder red leather platform shoes-- half-off to $150! i call them my bondage shoes, so in the spirit of this post i thought i'd put up some closeups. can't see the platform much in these shots thou...

fierce.
platform: you can see it on the left shoe (the one on the right of the photo)...

-
in other news, school starts tomorrow! i certainly don't plan to wear THESE there, but more thoughts+pictures on all that some other time. have a good week ahead!