Easing Back In

Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm slowly catching up with the blogosphere again. It's not always easy to stay on top of these things. For instance: As much as I love it, apartment therapy is always the most daunting to keep up with – their large volume of fabulous posts every day require some quality time and full attention, two things I haven't had much of lately. Still, my half-hearted skims caught some amazing pics, as well as some cool stuff from Swiss Miss, another blogger whose rapid flow of fun stuff completely astounds me.

Let's start above with this Stephen Reed/Alistair Willmott installation of Scrabble pillows, seen on both Swiss Miss and AT.

And below: A very happy kitchen

A very cool baby room and living room:

And fantastically colorful Diem Chau carved crayons:

I'm Okay, You're Okay

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sorry for the unprecedented dropped-off-the-face-of-the-blogosphere moment I had this past week. The last few days in the U.S. were a real whirlwind of activity (including a small panic attack when I realized just before departing that I could only bring two suitcases on the airplane, not three as I'd packed. Which meant a lot of repacking and the mailing of one massive box at the post office to get all my vintage back with me. Yikes.)

Plus, I didn't even have a Thursday this week – I left Newark at 11pm Wednesday and arrived back here at 6am Friday (it's the world's longest direct flight, and really actually very nice), where I proceeded to sleep soundly for approximately 24 hours. I was that tired. Now, I'm just catching up with life and unpacking and visiting with our lovely guests, Judy and Carl, who are allowing us to do all the fun tourist-y things around the city that we never get to do, like drink very fruity Singapore Slings at the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel.

My triumphant return to the blogosphere (not to mention the e-mails I owe many of you) will be delayed a few more days so I can enjoy being back in the city: Today, we're going to explore many of the exhibits from the Singapore Bienniale, which runs until November 12. We're starting with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusuma's Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees installation along Orchard Road. So. Cool!

Of course, the art walk will have to wait a few more hours, as it's currently 4am Singapore time. Did I mention I went to bed last night at 5pm? I slept until about 2am and am now completely wide awake. Ah, jet lag, my old nemesis. I'll beat you yet.

(photo borrowed from this site)

Favorite Interview Ever*: James from Bleubird Vintage

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sometimes, even I get all excited about posts on my own blog, and today is one of those days. Because! In the first of what will probably be a very sporadic Fashion is Spinach interview series, we have a delightful (if we do say so ourselves) q&a with the lovely James, the owner and very pretty face -- as you can see here -- of fantastic retro resource Bleubird Vintage.

If you've ever shopped for vintage on eBay, chances are you've come across Bleubird in your quest. Week after week, James (it's a nickname) scours a variety of vintage resources to nab fresh finds for her Bleubird Vintage eBay store. The items are so fantastic they're known to regularly induce massive bidding wars (I still regret not being able to afford the amazing village-print dress, above right. It went for $137.50. Sigh.) What's especially cute about Bleubird is that it's a family affair: James models each piece herself (with occasional help from Moose the pug), while her husband, Dustin, shoots the pics (we imagine their two little kids provide lots of moral support). She has tons of cool projects in the works – including an upcoming move from Florida to Portland, OR and the launch of her own vintage-inspired clothing collection (!!!) —and was sweet enough to share a bit with us.

And! We also got her to spill a bit about the secrets behind her fantasic skin. (You know me. I couldn't not ask!) Read on…

FiS: Bleubird Vintage is so great! Is it your full-time job to thrift for good finds?

James: Thank you! Yes, Bleubird is my full time job – although it's overwhelming at times, I love everything about it, from the hunt to the presentation to the sale! I am a busy little bee—I work sometimes 12 hours a day but I never get tired of it. It's a lot of fun and very rewarding and I try to make each buyer feel like they are receiving a little vintage present in their mailbox by adding a personal touch to each and every order.

I get new items daily and love to travel or take long road trips to find new pieces to add to my collection. I have been an avid thrifter since high school and my vintage collection is pretty massive. It's a little hard to part with some things at times but then again, I only end up wearing things once or twice because i have so much!

FiS: Where do you dig up all those cool clothes? And what do you think makes for the best vintage goldmine -- tiny church thrift shops, sprawling Goodwills or is there somewhere else you've discovered?

J: I search everywhere, near and far, high and low. I love tiny hole-in-the-wall church shops—they have great deals and sometimes you can find some really unique pieces. I love flea markets and there are a lot of great ones here in the south. I hit up every thrift store I come across. It's a dig to find the real goods but definitely worth it. Garage sales and estate sales are also great treasure spots.

FiS: So, have you ever had to wrestle a piece away from a little old lady?

J: Ha ha, no. Not yet, at least. I have spied a cute dress or two in another's hand and prayed that they will put it back on the rack but have never snatched it from them.

FiS: Do you wear vintage yourself? And if so, how do you part with so many great finds every week? There must be a little separation anxiety.

J: Of course! It's pretty much all I wear. The only things that I splurge on are jeans, the occasional "have to have 'em" pair of shoes and sunglasses. I have 2 closets full of vintage in the house plus 5 huge racks in my gar-office (a converted garage) packed full of goodies. Confession: I tend to keep some of the extra-special finds for myself. Sometimes it's hard to not just keep everything but I have so much that i can't possibly wear it all.

FiS: What are your own favorite thrifted finds?

J: I collect vintage owls and fawns. My house is covered in them.

FiS: And what's the best vintage find you've ever scored?

J: Hmmm... It's gotta be a toss up between this amazing limited addition 1960s 20" owl figure statue and this unbelievable powder blue 1970s tulle ruffle prom gown that is to die for.

FiS: At the risk of sounding a little creepy (we swear, we're not), you have undeniably great skin. Do you have some sort of beauty product secret that the rest of us should know about?

J: Thank you very much! I wash my face twice a day and moisturize like crazy. I never go to sleep with make up on, and I use a Vitamin C serum that is great for keeping skin young, bright and vibrant. I am also a huge fan of bronzer since I try to stay out of the sun. It's a great alternative to skin cancer. :)

I use the Vitamin C serum by Juice -- you can pick it up at Sephora. [FiS note: Juice has several serums, many of which contain Vitamin C.] I think it's around 50 bucks. I also use lots of moisturizer (Pevonia is my fave, I think it's around $40.) and exfoliate often (I use el cheapo... St. Ives scrub. Maybe $3. Ha.) I feel so funny writing about how I wash my face. Kiehl's non-detergent cleanser is also a must!

FiS: From what we see on the Bleubird Vintage website, it sounds like you're expanding. What's in the works?

J: Yep! A shop-able website is coming soon! We are hoping to have it up and running sometime this month. Cross your fingers!

I am also a clothing designer and have been secretly working on a small collection of women's contemporary "vintage-inspired" apparel called tweet which should be available within the next few months.

*We are not just saying this because it's our only interview ever.

A Few of My Favorite (Thrifted) Things

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ah yes. It looks like yesterday's post will likely be tomorrow's post (or possibly even Monday's post) and we apologize for getting you all riled up and not delivering. Sometimes these things happen. But rest assured, very fun stuff is in the works!

As a consolation prize, today we present some of our personal favorite finds from the trip thus far. I don't think I've set foot in a single mall or non-secondhand/discount shop (except for Target, of course, because you can't not go to Target, especially when some of the cute Paul & Joe stuff is discounted down to $3. Score!) I've mostly been trying to hold off until my pilgrimage up to New York later this afternoon, because I know I will not be able to resist the charms of Brooklyn's fantabulous shops. And so… where was I? Oh, yes, my favorite thrifted finds thus far, in no particular order.

First, the Kelly green wire egg holders above. Never mind that I don't really eat eggs. I still love them.

Now, a peek at the most amazing little dress, scored in a local vintage store. Peter pan collar, eggshell-ish blue and white print, perfect condition. It's a little bit overly mini, so I'm pairing it with jeans and ballet flats for now. But oh. my. God. It's so instantly wonderful, it was all I could do not to jump up and down and squeal with excitement.

And! For my desk, an old-school crank pencil sharpener, something I haven't seen since about fourth grade.

This lacy, daisy-print tablecloth is a classic vintage piece.

How amazing is this red and black carpet bag clutch? I am slightly obsessed with vintage clutch purses and this one has to be one of the best I've ever uncovered.

What a Hoot!*

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The above picture is inspired by tomorrow's post (or at least, what I hope will be tomorrow's post), which will be amazing. You'll have to wait and see how little vintage owls are relevant, but I thought they would also be a great kick-off to today's post on some of the thrifted items I've uncovered so far on my U.S. jaunt. Today we'll be highlighting some of the non-clothing items, mainly because I haven't cleaned up and showered yet, which I blame directly on the airport security representative who confiscated some of my most essential beauty products. I mean, yes, it is sort of my fault, but this whole 3-oz.-only and must-be-in-a-quart-sized-baggie rule is a little bit ridiculous. My gallon-sized Ziploc was declared as "really pushing the limit" even though it was only a quarter full. Sigh.

Anyway, back to the post. I had vintage owls on the brain yesterday and declared it fate when the three thrift stores I stopped in all had adorable varieties. Cute!

There was also the uncovering of a fantastic vintage suitcase, something I have been looking for for years. It will probably go in my office/workroom and hold important things.

It may possibly hold vintage fabrics, because I've found a few great ones for future projects. Including old-school calendar towels (just below) and lots of fun prints (farther below):

How will I be incorporating said prints into my household? Well, it's a good thing I picked up this 1960s booklet series on decorating your home:

Ridiculous (and ridiculously cool) patterns everywhere!

I'd love to stay and chat, but I'm taking my non-moisturized skin and heading back out to the thrift stores. The other site has some newly updated Tokyo pics, if that's kind of thing interests you. Much more coming soon!

(*Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Footsie Pajamas and Other Friday Musings

Friday, October 13, 2006

Well, hey! It's been, rather obviously, a tough week for posting. Because: On Wednesday, I flew from Tokyo (oh Tokyo, how I miss you) to L.A., where I had exactly 22 hours to spend in the city with the lovely Maggie (more on that later). I was up at 5am to catch my flight onwards to Philadelphia, where I am currently in the midst of exactly 22 hours here before flying on to Florida tonight. I'm not really complaining—oh, poor me, I have to go to Los Angeles and Florida—but it doesn't make for much share-worthy fashion choices. I've basically been living in grubby t-shirts and jeans and Chuck Taylors. Luckily, I found this amazing slim-cut vintage navy trench coat in Tokyo, which, when thrown on in public areas, covers much of the above quite nicely. Too bad it doesn't have a hood, because dry airplane hair = yuck.

Also: The women in L.A. are totally rocking the whole skinny jeans-into-slouchy boots, t-shirt, vest and aviator sunglasses combo (also some seriously perfect skin and tousled long hair. And occasionally the skinny suspender.) And it works really well. Go forth and try.

Bear with me for a few more days, when I plan to return to my regular shenanigans (and also to NYC, the most inspiring city of all). In the meantime, can I say for a second how much the Philadelphia airport, of all places, feels like home? It's like a ritual now: Fly in, check out the new Phillies stadium on the descent, step off the jetway and see the overpriced airport cheesesteak stand, find the generous family member (this time, my bearded brother) waiting at the baggage claim to whisk me off into America (first stop: thrift store!). And there's this little part of me that jumps up and down every time I do it. It's clichéd but so true: There's no place like home.

There's also nothing quite like pink footsie jammies. (Except perhaps the new flannel Hello Kitty! jammies my mom had waiting for me. Yes kids, I'm nearly 30 years old, but Hello Kitty! jammies are one of those things that still can make you quite giddy.) The ones above are courtesy of Miss Kyra, age 19 months. If only they made footsie jammies for adults. I'm pretty sure you could never go to sleep upset if you were wearing them.

Oh So Kawaii

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Because it is pretty much my dream to be a Japanese teenager (they all seem so hip and cool, plus it is totally acceptable – even encouraged -- to openly love pink cartoon-y things), I had to buy these Zumreed striped headphones at Loft in Tokyo this week. All the kids are rocking them around Tokyo, and now, so am I.

Also, because I'm feeling more Cute Overload than fashion blog this week, here's your adorable-slash-ridiculous animal photo of the day:

This cat was hanging out at Freshness Burger in Shibuya. It seemed perfectly happy to be on a leash. All the Japanese girls would walk by, see it and scream: "KAWAII!" (Which apparently means, "CUTE!")

Just Another Manic Monday

Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm keeping things short today because a) I'm still on vacation in Tokyo and all this fun deserves my full attention; b) I'm way behind on all my real life work; and c) if my boyfriend doesn't have to work on Columbus Day, then neither do I. Actually, Mike headed back to Singapore this afternoon and I'm still in Tokyo for another day and a half before I head on to the U.S. of A. You know what that means! With Mike gone, tomorrow will be entirely devoted to shopping for girly things. Possibly pink girly things. And stickers.

Actually, Mike's been a real trooper, allowing me repeated trips to multiple vintage stores and accompanying me to such wonderful places as the Marimekko Concept Store and The Shop That Sells My Little Pony Bags. (It's for my Halloween costume! I swear!) We spent most of the day yesterday hanging around with the Little Bo Peep kids at Harajuku, and it was great fun. More on that to come, once I figure out how to download photos from the new camera onto my computer.

In the meantime, direct from the walls of our favorite pork broth ramen shop: Aren't these lights fantastic? They're little bulbs behind Japanese spoons. Very simple idea, but the effect was really striking.

Oh yeah, there was also an encounter with a pink dog. He wasn't very friendly, but you can't really blame him for having anger issues.

Oooh! Oooh! Oooh! New Eleanor Grosch Keds!

Friday, October 06, 2006

I am just about to take a nap (a necessity, because we were up up 5:30am to watch a bunch of cute little old fishermen slice up some enormous tuna at the Tsujiki fish market). But first I had to post this! Designer Eleanor Grosch has added three new Keds designs to her existing line (you may recall that we went a little crazy over our adorable Owl Keds a few months ago).

The new designs, all lined in faux sherpa (sort of unfortunate for those of us in the tropics), are just as cute as the first batch: There are raccoons and foxes and our favorite little black cats (above). I am definitely contemplating the cats. I wear my owls all the time and they make me smile every time I look down.

Tokyo, Tokyo, It's No Joke-yo

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I don't think Tokyo could be any more awesome if it tried. (Okay, perhaps if it stopped raining so much, but I am willing to give it a little leeway.) The past two days have been spent shopping, eating amazing "molecular food" and playing with our adorable friend Kyra (she's almost two and she loves bananas). Oh, and more shopping. Yesterday, armed with the Tokyo Luxe Guide, the Lucky mag shopping guide to Tokyo (March 2006 edition – just let me know if you should ever need a photocopy) and the list of all your fantastic recommendations, we started off our city tour with Shibuya, where many gleeful noises were made at Tokyu Hands, Loft and Picnic on Picnic. (I have been to these places before, on our last trip in January 2005, but enough time has passed to make me sufficiently giddy again.) I think we'll do a run down of the loot towards the end of the trip, but let's just say many adorable stickers were obtained.

Today was spent exploring Omotesando/Harajuku (where I kept finding great things in various branches of an amazing vintage store called Chicago. The vintage in this town is insane! Check out the rack of dresses from the Omotesando Chicago branch above.) We ate some fried pork chop and went to a six-floor toy extravaganza called Kiddyland and hit up Uniqlo (the Old Navy of Japan – and coming soon to New York, for those of you over there! Lots of nice basics, fyi.) Oh, and we also found what is reportedly the city's largest Daiso 100 Yen store, which is better (and cheaper, thanks to a good exchange rate at the moment!) than the one in Singapore. I now own Hello Kitty coasters. They are quite pink. We also headed to Shinjuku, but by the time we got there we were too tired to fully appreciate all seven floors of Japanese design-fashion-art booky goodness at Kinokuniya. A return trip is definitely planned before I leave.

Tomorrow! Off to buy knives in Kappabashi, followed by some Imperial Palace-ing and a visit to the city's largest Muji. I have just found what appears to be a really good undereye concealer at a smaller Muji (who knew Muji did makeup?) and so, I'm pretty sure it's going to be a blast.

Oh yeah, in case you were wondering: Everyone in Tokyo really does have a crazy, fantastic, original style, whether it's the elderly ladies in kimonos or the Harajuku girls in Little Bo Peep-ish ensembles. Also: You're nobody in Tokyo unless you have vintage cowboy boots, especially if you wear them with a kneesocks underneath. Cute!

Attention, L.A. Shoppers!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

In just about a week, I will find myself driving around in the Hollywood Hills (hopefully, with wind blowing in my hair and stuff). On my way from Asia to the East Coast of the U.S., I am stopping off for about 22 hours in Los Angeles, where I will head straight to Malgosia, the brand-new boutique of my friend and fashion-lover extraordinaire, Maggie Wachsberger.

Malgosia is on West Third Street in L.A. (a really cool shopping area all around), and is stocked with amazing, hard-to-find labels like Indian designers Sabyasachi and Rajesh Pratap Singh, along with finds like Souchi cashmere and Paul Seville accessories. The pics below are pieces from Bilbao designer Miriam Ocariz – so cool! (I am hoping Maggie won't mind if I use her store for a personal fashion show, something along the lines of the "movie montage" in the Cameron Diaz cable TV favorite The Sweetest Thing.) Maggie has been scouring the globe (I know, because I met her in India earlier this year) for the best undercover labels, and her store looks to be a treasure trove of lovely stuff. More to come after the visit next week.

Malgosia, 8336 West Third Street, Los Angeles, 323-782-9188

Attention, S.F. Sewers! (And Aspiring Sewers!)

Yep, we're rolling right along with the city recommendations today. Because this is the greatest thing we've ever heard of: Stitch Lounge, a San Francisco "sewing lounge" that allows customers to rent sewing machines by the hour, buy unique fashions and take sewing classes. It sounds like such an amazing, creative space—gosh, I'd be happy if I could just find a little café where I could park myself and my laptop in the afternoons. (I can't find a good one in Singapore). But this! This is amazing.

For those of us not in San Francisco, the owners have also penned a really cute looking DIY sewing book.

Stitch Lounge, 182 Gough Street (@ Oak in Hayes Valley), 415.431.3739

(photo from

Attention, Singapore Readers!

I discovered the most fantastic store last week, instantly one of my favorite spaces in the whole city. It is called Books Actually, and it's a little independent bookstore on the second floor of a shophouse on Telok Ayer Street. It's stocked with so many covetable fiction titles—just talking to the owners, Kenny and Karen, made me immediately want to read George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London (it's their top recommendation, and they're clearly very persuasive, because they were sold out).

But beyond the books, the shop is stocked with lots of cool little touches that make you feel like you're in a special space. There were vintage notebooks and little handmade poetry books and tiny farm animals and colorful old typewriters. Exactly the sort of place that makes you want to stop everything to sit and read, for a change.

Books Actually, 125A Telok Ayer Street, Singapore, (+65) 6221 1170

Attention, Other Readers!

We're sorry we don't have anything very specific for you today. But we do have these tidbits to keep you entertained:

--I'm on the plane right now, and they're showing The Devil Wears Prada. Have you seen this yet? If you have not, you must run, run, run to the movie theater. Seeing it is a must-do for any fashion person, along with reading Fashion Babylon and an occasional pilgrimage to Barney's.

--Speaking of movies: I don't know if this makes me hopelessly immature or what, but reading or watching anything about Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan gives me the extreme giggles. This film, along with Marie Antoinette, Little Miss Sunshine and The Last Kiss are on my must-watch list for my return to the States.

--We actually had no idea that spinach was so out, but we're glad to hear it's back in favor again. Long live spinach!

--I'm already excited to come back to Singapore because just LOOK at the amazing artwork I'll have waiting for me. I'll do a full post on this piece another day, but basically I came across Spinach reader Ruilian's blog and saw this great piece she'd made for her friend. I was inspired by Maria's suggestion that if you see an artist or photographer on the web that you like, you should always ask them if they have other works or do commissions. And so I did. And it worked!

I've only seen the picture but I love it already. The back is nearly as cool as the front, don't you think? (Be sure to scroll through Ruilian's recent entries for a step-by-step explanation on how she creates these paper cuts.)

For those of you too lazy to click on the link:

The Magical City of Hong Kong, Part 1 (of 3. Or so.)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Out of all the cities I regularly travel to, I have to say that Hong Kong is probably my very favorite. (Okay, so I often say that about wherever I've just been, but in this case, it's most likely true.) I got an e-mail late last week from one of my editors asking if it would be possible to drop everything and head to Hong Kong for a day or two do to a story. Of course I said yes; not only was it a great article, but I never turn down the chance to go to Hong Kong. I just had to be back in Singapore to make my flight to Tokyo first thing Tuesday morning.

And that is how I found myself this weekend in Hong Kong for about 30 hours. It was a magical weekend, but more on that in a bit. If you are the kind of person who lives, breathes, adores fashion, then Hong Kong is the place for you. The city is teeming with tiny boutiques, innovative stores and amazing finds—everything from cheap, cool Chinese ceramics to loads of high-end brands.

There are two places that are absolutely unmissable—the first is Joyce, a high-end boutique on Queen's Central Road. It's a Hong Kong landmark, frequented by the city's most stylish (and the women in Hong Kong are totally stylish), with the best selection of clothing I've ever seen. There are fuzzy Chloe coats and sweet Marni shoes and amazing Peter Som cropped swing jackets with rows of buttons. This is the essence of what, as a fashion person, you live and breathe for—just seeing the pieces in person is a thrill. The selection is so impressive, you don't even mind that the sales girls seem to be gossiping about you and your Paul & Joe for Target kimono dress in Cantonese.

The second place that must be visited is Lane Crawford. It is not just a department store; it is a fashion experience. It is also very dangerous—you probably never even knew you needed patent leather Chloe wedges or a gunmetal gray Vanessa Bruno tote, but once you see them there, you can't get them out of your mind.

I went to two Lane Crawford branches, the Pacific Place location and their International Financial Center flagship. Both were fantastic—at the PP store, they had a series of prominent displays called A View Into Fashion, highlighting 12 innovative artists like Gardem and Rohka. At the IFC location, they had a different installment of A View Into Fashion--there, 10 designers had a space in the store to design and decorate. Alber Elbaz from Lanvin had a fantastic dining room full of black and red lacquers and velvet pieces surrounded by enormous crystal chandeliers, while Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci replicated his office, right down to the stacks of magazines and an iPod of his favorite songs. (The exhibit claims to be ending September 30, though I saw it on Sunday and it was still up.) In between the displays were racks of the latest pieces from Dries van Noten, Anne-Valerie Hash and Stella McCartney. It goes on and on; you could literally lose yourself in this store for a few hours and not mind at all. Here are a few snaps, taken before I was told photos were not allowed.

Okay, we'll take a quick pause here to have a light refreshment.

The Magical City of Hong Kong, Part 2 (of 3)

Now, Joyce and Lane Crawford are where you go in Hong Kong if you are a dreamer (or if you are independently wealthy). But, if you are a serious die-hard bargain shopper, you take a taxi over to the island of Ap Lei Chau (about 20 minutes, $10), where the South Horizons building has outlet stores for both of those stores. (That's a covert snapshot of the Lane Crawford outlet above.) Here you'll find past seasons of fantastic clothes, like Dries van Noten sweaters and Pucci dresses and Phi tops and Yohji Yamamoto coats. (The best part, at least for me, is that because all the stylish women in Hong Kong are teensy tiny, the clothing in stock tends to be larger sizes.)

You have to be very careful because there is no better example of the fact that even top designers aren't perfect—these are the pieces that couldn't even get sold in the clearance sales, so the really great finds are few. One side of your brain is going, "This coat is nice, but it's not worth the $500 [or $200, or $900] dollars." And the other side of your brain is going, "But you will finally own a piece designed by Yohji Yamamato! There, in your very own closet! Whee!"

(That's not to say there aren't awesome finds; I once scored a DVF wrap dress at the Joyce outlet and it is one of the best, most versatile items I own.)

This time, I very nearly bought a fantastic pair of Habitual skinny jeans and a Trovata skirt, but decided against it. I am glad I waited: After you have finished going a little crazy in South Horizons, you must always make a stop off at the nearby Marina Square East center, home of Space, an outlet for Prada, Miu Miu and Helmut Lang. And that is where the weekend went from great to amazing.


The Magical City of Hong Kong, Part 3: The Grand Finale

When we last left off, I was just about the enter the Prada/Miu Miu/Helmut Lang outlet store. (To read parts 1 and 2 of this adventure, go here and here.)

I had low expectations; in the past, the only thing I've found here was a nice but plain navy top, several sizes too big, which I bought with plans of having it tailored. More than a year later, I still haven't actually done that yet, because to give your tailor your Prada requires an awfully large amount of trust.

Anyway. Way back in early 2003, Miuccia Prada showed her fall/winter 2003 collection and I'd loved it instantly. She'd borrowed a vintage print from British company Holiday & Brown and made a gorgeous green and pink patterned silk that I loved the second I saw it. And I mean loved: If I see it in a magazine, I have to cut out the picture. And when I saw Prada's fantastic Waist Down exhibition in Shanghai last year (an occasion where I actually met Miuccia Prada herself, and immediately declared I would not wash my hand again), I spent most of my time in the room where they featured this skirt.

(You'll be happy to know that I did finally wash my hand--you know, for hygiene's sake--but that meeting still ranks among the highlights of my fashion life, along with running around Beijing with Lanvin's Alber Elbaz for a weekend.)

At the time the collection was launched, I was barely scrimping by on my meager salary and full-price Prada was absolutely inconceivable (I bet even a keychain would have been excessive to my bank account). I've searched for pieces from the collection regularly on eBay, but without much luck. I'd pretty much given up hope. I think you can see where this is going.

Imagine the near heart attack I had when I walked into the Prada outlet and there on the hanger was the Holiday & Brown-print silk dress. I could not believe my eyes. They had my size. It fit like a glove. (There was also a pencil skirt version, though my favorite piece, the circle skirt, had just sold out.) Of course I bought the dress immediately, along with another beautiful silk dress in a muted tie-dye print and a geometric Miu Miu skirt. I couldn't stop beaming; I had to keep peeking into my shopping bag all afternoon to see if it was really there.

Some people might see these pieces as "last year's Prada", but not me. I think Miuccia Prada is a genius and her clothes—no matter how memorable—will definitely stand the test of time. I imagine passing this dress on to my daughter one day, and her looking at me and saying, "Mom, even though your irresponsible spending meant I couldn't afford to go to college, this dress really does make it all worthwhile."

*Sighs happily.* The end.

Ah, the Wisdom of Children

While walking around in the IFC mall in Hong Kong, I passed a little girl—about 8 years old—who was peering intently at these shoes in the window of Roberto Cavalli. As she and her father walked away, she looked up at him animatedly and said, "I'm pretty sure those have to be the woooorst shoes in the history of the planet!"