Where's Andrae?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Verna drove down to DC to meet Tim Gunn on his book tour recently (he's about to hit up NYC and the West Coast, if you're interested. Singapore, unfortunately, does not factor into the tour at this point, though we did get an appearance by Santino relatively recently, so there's still hope.)

Verna gives Tim's book a "cute but a little eh" (as if that's stopping us from buying it) but she reports that Tim is totally fun and even more charming in person. She also pointed out that there's a current casting call for Tim's new Bravo show right now. Are *you* a fashion-frustrated woman over the age of 21 and in the New York area? You could get a complete makeover by Tim! Go, apply and report back with all the juicy details.

A Democratic Fashion Process

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I staged a little photo shoot in my parents' driveway so you can see my new swingy raincoat. I sort of love it, but worry that I don't have nearly enough chances to wear it to justify the purchase (Singapore + outer coverings = sweaty disaster). Shiny Squirrel reports that she returned hers immediately due to its overwhelming largeness. I'll put it up to a vote: What do you all think? Should it stay or should it go?

While I'm at it, you should know that not all my purchases in the U.S. have been vintage-related. Some have been budget shopping-related. Here's a few things I've stocked up on:

+Liz Lange maternity t-shirts, $9.99, Target. Now, I am not pregnant, nor have any plans to be anytime soon, but I really love these t-shirts, which I discovered last year. For starters, they come in an extra-long length (perfect, I suppose, for pregnant bellies, but also perfect if you are nearly six feet tall and have a very long torso and are sick of showing off stomach with regular tees. Which is me, in case that wasn't clear.)

Extra bonuses: They are way cheaper than American Apparel and they have a bit of lyrca in them, which means they hold up much better to near-constant washes than plain cotton.

+Patent leather(ish) flats, about $15, Payless. I grabbed a few pairs of these cheap little flats from Payless (added bonus: buy two pairs and the second is half-off). They sell near-identical pairs at Topshop, but for more than three times the price. Score!

+Flipflops, 2 for $5, Old Navy. I was coveting a pair of silver Havaianas in Singapore a few weeks ago, so I was more than happy to snap up very similar version -- in both light and dark silver -- at Old Navy this week. {Unfortunately not online, it seems.}

+New Keds! I have worn my Eleanor Grosch owls into the ground (they are starting to smell horribly, I'm sorry to say, though that hasn't really stopped me from getting a few last gasps out of them). Unfortunately, they no longer make the black owl model – I can't find them anywhere. I decided I wasn't feeling the pastel Eleanors as much, so went with the black and white stars instead. They're no black owls, but they're still pretty fun.

Also, can we just talk about how cute the Piperlime packaging is? It makes you even happier about your new shoe purchase. Well, that and the free shipping.

Guess I shouldn't have let my subscription lapse…

How gorgeous is the subscriber's-only May cover of Harper's Bazaar (at left)? They really ought to take a chance and be as creative with their newsstand covers. I like the newsstand cover (at right) okay – heck, I bought it, so they must be doing something right – but the other one is infinitely more striking and fashionable.

See Gwen's whole My Fair Lady-inspired spread by Peter Lindbergh over here.

Just My Type

Friday, April 27, 2007

Lately, I have been supremely obsessed with vintage typography. I get on these thrifting kicks, you see, about certain textiles or patterns or pyrex or what have you – and lately, type has been the fixation of choice. I've found a few great things this week to satisfy my cravings… for now.

Graphically inclined kitchenware… drool…

Neat little box (no idea what was inside; I just liked the packaging!):

Vintage popcorn bowl:


Hand-lettering book:

And no, do not ask me how I'm going to get all this back to Singapore. I have no idea!

The Fashion is Spinach Film Series: Down with Love!

Hey kids! It's that time of the month again! Sparked by my vintage thrifting frenzy over here in the States, the next film in the Fashion is Spinach Film Series will be the charming comedy Down with Love. It's got a cute, entertaining plotline, but the real gem of the flick is the fantastic sixties costumes and set décor. It's a veritable vintage extravaganza! It's also one of my favorite movies, if only for the fashion – I watch it regularly just for retro styling tips.

Vintage lovers, unite! Come join on Friday, May 18 for the screening – as always, rsvps are appreciated, though we always manage to squeeze everyone in. I will be wearing my most sixties-ish ensemble, naturally. You should too! There might even be a "best dressed" prize for this one… stay tuned.

Hope to see you at the show! Here's a few snippets of the fabulousness you're in for…

Totally Charming

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tricia of Bits & Bobbins showed off a snippet of two of her new fashion books, including Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel, a book that's also on my wishlist (probably because of Tricia, come to think of it). Anyway, the photos in Tricia's review only made me want the book that much more, and I especially loved the shot of Iris' fantastic plastic charm necklace from the 1980s (above). I recently dug out my own 80s charm necklace to wear for Halloween last year. I went dressed as a Harajuku girl and brought out all my pink, poufy, sparkly finest (I did win first prize in the costume competition, but mainly because only like three other people dressed up). Thanks to Iris, I'm now thinking of ways to wear the charm necklace in real life. But in the meantime, a few snaps of my costume, just 'cause I thought you'd enjoy them.

(You should know I totally wore the Zumreed headphones as well. Unfortunately, I was unable to score a bonnet anywhere.)

Perfectly Poiret

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sundays at home in Delaware mean waffles and the New York Times, which featured these fantastic photos in a Poiret-inspired fashion spread in the Magazine today. A Poiret retrospective opens at The Costume Institute at the Met on May 9, right when I'll be in New York, and I can't wait to check it out.

Adventures in Thrifting, Part 1 (of many)

When one is in the U.S., it is necessary to do the following:
1) Have a large number of drinks with old college buddies;
2) Drive around with the windows down singing loudly to catchy Top 40 hits;
3) Go thrifting. As much as possible.

In accordance with part #3, my mom and I spent yesterday morning garage sale-ing and the afternoon at various thrift stores, searching for treasure. She's an invaluable thrifting partner: where my eyes will sometimes glaze over after the umpteenth shelf of country-themed bric-a-brac, no vintage Pyrex bowl ever gets past her. While driving between garage sales, she also spent a little time schooling me in what should probably be called "garage sale poker face," as so to wheedle the best deal from the seller (it's not unlike bargaining in Beijing, I might add). It is probably best described as the opposite of walking up to a sale and exclaiming animatedly "Oh my god, look at that stool! Is that Lucite?! Ahhh!!" Which, novice that I am, is something I did during our outing.

I've got a lot to learn apparently. But can you blame me? I mean, really:

I was very happy to pay the full price of $2.

Also scored:
Vintage boots! In my (very large) size! Never worn! $1.

(I very nearly had a heart attack when finding these.)

Vintage magazine holder, $3.43:

60s tablecloth, $2:

And an Eva Zeisel teapot, lidless and slightly chipped but amazing nonetheless, $1.49:

This – and much more – was all in the first two days. Tomorrow: Target!

If you're looking for something to do on Saturday…

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

If I was going to be here in Singapore this Saturday, I'd totally check out the screening of Unfolding Florence: The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst (last item), part of the Singapore International Film Festival that runs through April 30th. Broadhurst was an eccentric world traveler who eventually made her name in design for her amazing graphic prints for textiles and wallpaper. (Here's a full bio, if you're interested.) The film got good reviews and – especially now that Broadhurst's designs are back in style (thanks in part to a buzzed-about new book on her) – it's probably worth your Saturday afternoon.

Here's just a few snippets of her amazing designs; Print & Pattern has more.

Unfolding Florence screening, April 21, 4:15pm, Lido Classic theater

More fash on the Singapore front

The Gap Design Editions collection featuring Doo.Ri, Thakoon and Rodarte may have been a big hit this week in the States, but we in Singapore (where the first Asia Gap stores outside of Japan opened just a few months ago) aren't getting our shipments in until mid-May. We're also not getting any of the Rodarte stuff, whose trapeze top seems to have been the biggest hit of them all (see the whole lot here). I'm really curious to see if the collection sparks as big a frenzy over here.

Also, we would just like to say that years and years ago (although not that many years ago – I'm not that old), we used to toil down the hall from Thakoon Panichgul, when he was just a lowly fashion editor and secretly taking his now-fabled night classes to learn design. Next thing you know, he's a big fashion industry star… and we are sitting on our couch in our jammies eating waffle-flavored cereal and writing blog posts about him. Hmmm. Er. Anyway, we're always partial to his designs, just because we're glad neither of us no longer has to fetch lunch for people and also because they're really pretty.

Updating our Look for Spring

Look at us, getting all spiffy! One of our readers, the very generous Wendy Frink (who just happens to be a graphic designer), totally surprised us recently with the gift of a new {green!} site header. It was so cool, we decided it was time to start sprucing things up around here. We are still prettying things up so it looks good on all web browsers (and, uh, not just our own), but it's a start. Thanks, Wendy!

You'll also notice a new link section over at the left, where I've begun to list some of the stores and designers around Asia (and occasionally beyond) that I love and find inspiring. That list will be in addition to my regular city guides – more installments are on their way! – but are definitely worth a click whenever you have some time to kill.

In the meantime, I'm off to the U.S.! Talk amongst yourselves.

Willing to go broke for brocade

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I am slightly obsessed with little brocade dresses right now, particularly those in geometric patterns. I'm also a little bit mad at myself, because I lived in China – land of cheap, gorgeous brocade silk and cheap, talented tailors – for two years and did not have the foresight to have a little brocade dress made. And so, I am thinking of planning a return visit to China asap.

Here's a few dresses that got me into this mindset: First, this fantastic patterned dress {above} found on the website for Bombay Electric, an amazing new store in (you guessed it) Bombay that I can't wait to see. (Note to self: Plan a return trip to Bombay too.) My friend Priya has been hard at work sourcing great local fashion for the store for the past year, and I can't wait to see it all in person. If that fantastic dress is any indication, this is a boutique that could do some serious damage to my wallet.

Oh, but that's not all! My brocade obsession actually started months ago, after I first saw the Milly spring/summer 07 collection. How perfect are these pieces below? If there ever was an outfit that was "me" right now, this is it:

Well, maybe not those sunglasses. But definitely the rest.

(If you haven't seen it yet, the whole Milly collection is just fantastic and didn't get nearly as much press as it deserved. Be sure and check it out over here. I also especially love some of the black and white dresses.)

And only adding fuel to my personal shopping fire is the Stuart Weitzman ad campaign in magazines right now. (And Stuart Weitzman doesn't even make dresses!) But still: If this picture doesn't make you want a little brocade (or brocade-ish, tough to tell) dress -- with a peter pan collar, no less! -- I don't know what will.


Moment of Weakness

I have been quite good lately about resisting (too many) frivolous purchases, sticking to a strict budget and thoroughly contemplating every big buy before I make it. Until now. Because as soon as I saw this swing trench coat (on Victoria's Secret, of all places), I instantly wanted it. It's so cute! And on major sale! (Perhaps it didn't quite fit the style of the general VS demographic?) And so… I ordered it. And, really, it looks so cute that I don't feel guilty about it at all.

{There's a bunch of VS coupons over here should you have a similar compulsion.}

On the Road Again…

Today I'm focused on the arduous task of packing, as tomorrow morning I'm off to the U.S. for several weeks, which will (hopefully) include all of the following:
+Lots and lots and lots of thrift shopping;
+A productive visit to H&M;
+Vintage Roadtrip, Part One! (with the fabulous Kevin);
+Wedding excitement (not my own, though I will be playing the role of bridesmaid);
+A lot of really cute babies. For example.

But first: the dreaded packing. Despite all my travel, I'm pretty terrible at it (I mean, what if I need the little silver mini-dress? And the printed one? And the long-sleeved one?). Luckily, I have Peeve to help me whittle it down.

So much retro goodness: Déjà Vu Vintage

I was out and about last week and decided to stop by the Mandarin Gallery on Orchard Road to see what some of my favorite Singapore shops were up to. Which is, in quick summary:
+Quintessential has a brand-new shipment in of Liz Saintsing accessories (including an oversized red envelope purse silk-screened with blue birds that is absolutely fantastic);
+Eclecticism has not yet gotten their first Orla Kiely pieces yet but promise it should happen "very soon"; and
+Déjà Vu Vintage is totally stocked with great vintage finds.

I'd e-mailed with Kelly, the very sweet and extremely stylish proprietress of Déjà Vu, awhile back but not met her in person before, so I was thrilled that she was manning the store when I popped in. They're celebrating their one year anniversary at the end of the month with an Alice in Vintageland extravaganza from April 27-29. Stop by during store hours (11:30am-8pm) that weekend for lots of celebratory goodies! And be sure to say hello to Kelly too!

In the meantime, some snaps of some of the overwhelming vintage-y goodness in the store. (So many beautiful colors and fabrics! Makes me so happy.) While I was there, another shopper snapped up the most fantastic 70s jumpsuit/overalls in lightweight denim. It was the perfect wide-legged piece and it looked fab on her. I tried it on too, and it was about seven inches too short (despite years of searching, I have not ever been able to find a vintage jumpsuit that fits me, probably because I am nearly six feet tall and they always stop well above my ankles. Not hot.) Still, I'm glad it went home with someone that it looked awesome on.

Note: How much do I love those big pink flowers above? (Earrings, I think?) I didn't even notice them until I got home and looked at my photos, but they might be worth a return trip. (If you didn't like them as earrings, I bet they could be repurposed into buttons or pins or a ring.)

A perfect example of why I love vintage: You can still embrace current trends like black and white or bows, but with pieces that no one else will have.

Even the dressing room curtain was fantastic:

Mark your calendars!: Alice in Vintageland first birthday celebration, April 27-29 (11:30-8pm) at Déjà vu Vintage, (#03-12A Mandarin Gallery, 333 Orchard Road, phone: 6333 6630).

Reasons why my productivity is at a new low…

Sunday, April 15, 2007

So much good stuff on the internet this week! Here's just a few of the great things that have distracted me from doing actual work:

+I'm smitten with the retro-playful-colorful goodness of these rooms by interior designer Scott Sanders {that's a glimpse above}. I am (random trivia alert!) an absolute Connect Four freak and I love how he incorporated the game into the décor.

+Susie Bubble scored the yellow Zara dress! Cute, cute, cute. Love the leggings. {Oh, and don’t miss her awesome newly reconstructed dress. I may have to steal the idea, I love it so.}

+It's been all over the blogosphere, and for good reason: Miranda July's cute and clever website for her new book totally made me smile.

+Oh my goodness, Tim Gunn has a new book, coming out May 1. (!!) Some people line up for Harry Potter, but you can be assured that *I* will be lining up for Tim.

+More What's In my Bag goodness: The lovely Cruststation reminded me that there is a great flickr group solely dedicated to this very topic. People everywhere are carrying around intensely cute stuff, it seems.

+Er, potential offenses aside, we really love what the extremely artistic Kevin Khuong of Fashionista did to create this Marimekko-inspired DIY scarf.

+Galadarling has a great list of what is chic. Read. Discuss. Contribute.

+And speaking of Gala, don't forget that this Saturday is International Dress-up Day #3! The theme is an Unbirthday Party, which is really just the perfect excuse to wear your most colorful, poufy birthday girl (or boy) outfit. As if we really needed a reason for that. Still, count us in, it sounds tiara-riffic!


Many, many thanks to everyone who came out for the film screening on Saturday! I had a fantastic time, and I'm not just saying that because it was my screening. (Or maybe I am. Still, I'm pretty sure others had fun too!)

We had a fantastic turnout to watch Isaac run around and be generally ridiculous and gush animatedly about Nanook of the North. The super-lucky Susan was the winner of the fantastic clutch purse, and we all tried very hard to be congratulatory and not too jealous. Thanks again to Lynda at Little Odd Forest for donating such a great raffle prize, and to the team at Pitch Black for being such lovely hosts, as usual.

The May movie and screening date will be announced very soon, so stay tuned!

Style inspiration, served fresh daily

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

On days when I think that I might explorde if I see another denim miniskirt with leggings (I'm not judging – heck, I wore a denim mini yesterday – but I am a little sick of the look right now), I seek out a creative style fix at wardrobe_remix, the uber-active Flickr group started by Tricia of Bits & Bobbins (you should definitely check out her blog! And covet her amazing old-school card catalogue along with me!).

Every day on wardrobe_remix, dozens of originally stylish gals (and even a few guys) post photos of their current outfits. {These snaps here are just a few of my favorites.} Not everyone's fashion sense matches my own, but I absolutely love how everyone who posts has completely embraced their own independent style -- conventional fashion rules be damned. Because, really, that's what it's all about (clap clap).