Kimono Crazy!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I've been stockpiling funky vintage kimonos ever since I moved to Singapore (see, for example, here) and have slowly transformed -- with the help of a tailor -- a few of them into cool wrap dresses… that I haven't actually worn yet. (For no particular reason, other than I just hadn't been in the mood.) But, I'm inspired to finally break them out by Hope Atherton's vintage kimono mini, as seen on's weekly best-dressed list. The length is what's key—if you're looking to convert an old kimono, take it to the tailor and get it chopped pretty short to balance out all that fabric up top. And, be sure to have them make a long belt out of the leftovers to help cinch it into something shapely and less bathrobe-like, a la Hope.

I'm looking for a photo of Hope's dress from the front, if anyone's seen one – I just haven't quite nailed the neckline and I'm wondering how she wore it. Domo arigato for your help.

Today’s Mass Transit Read: Take Your Pick

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Well, hey! I’ve been seriously under the weather for the past week – and feeling quite a bit overstretched these days – but seem to finally be on the road to recovery (also the road of not needing to go to bed at 8pm). And so! As I wean myself off the cold medicine and get back into the swing of things, I highly suggest you take this time and catch up on some of the following enjoyable articles:

1. New appreciation for the Olsen twins' innovative, if unusual, style can be found here.

2. Also: Despite the large amount of voluminous pieces still in stores, magazines continue to claim that the pregnant look is totally dead. Which is sort of a shame, because it really made getting through those “fat days” so much easier (not to mention large meals).

3. Not fashion-y per se, but I’m completely excited about the arrival of Gossip Girl. Teen dramedys aimed at 15-year-olds! Now that's my kind of show.

4. And for you fashion biz types: A lengthy look at Francois-Henri Pinault, the man behind PPR and Gucci Group, and also Salma Hayek’s baby daddy.

Oh, and for those of you off to see Marie Antoinette tonight: Unfortunately, I won’t be there due to last-minute work commitments (as opposed to the last two screenings, where I could only drag myself out of bed long enough to do the seating assignments. Blergh.) But, the Pitch Black team is under strict instructions to take good care of you. Enjoy!

Things that made me smile today

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

1.This wonderfully happy illustration by Singapore artist Kuanth.

2.Amazing works from Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life, via Random Inspiration

3.Snippets of the work of Richard Avedon. {Plus: more here!}

4.Eleanor Grosch's new Keds designs, especially the Bluebird Print Mary Jane.

5.The 1-click award site, via Wooonderland. Be sure to scroll your mouse over the circle and stop from time to time. You'll see. {Actually, this one made me giggle out loud.}

I'll take that in Vomit, please!

As a teen, I used to get so excited whenever a new J. Crew catalogue would come in the mail. I just could not get enough of their roll-neck sweaters, which always came in ultra-descriptive (if slightly over-the-top) color names like "petal," "tomato" and "storm."

Now, Marc Jacobs' line of basic men's polos – sold under the label Stinky Rat -- has reinvented the color wheel again. Among the more tame options (mocha, ocean blue) are evocative hues such as "vomit" and "pollution." Which takes it to a whole new (sorta gross, but pretty funny) level.

Where, oh where can I find this amazing green bag?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I was at the airport newsstand yesterday and, for the first time in my life, exclaimed "Oooh! The newest Oprah magazine!" (Mike looked slightly taken aback; I usually reserve such glee for various Vogues and the occasional Lucky. I, of course, totally blame Gala.) But really, I was lured into buying it by an inspiring-looking article called What Do You Want to Do With Your Life? (which apparently, I could have just read online, and spent my money on Glamour instead. But oh well.)

Anyway, flipping through O's fashion section, I came across the photo of "Commando Shopper" Erica Reid, who is holding just the most amazing oversized kelly green bag. Annoyingly, there are no fashion credits, and while it's quite possible that Erica is dressed in her own plaid cape and oversized tote ensemble, I have a feeling these might be new fall pieces courtesy of O's fashion department.

And so: Has anyone seen this bag? Enlighten me, please! (Prada Miu Miu has a really similar version out now, but it doesn't look quite the same -- this one seems to have a slightly longer handle and toned-down hardware {I know, because I actually stood at the shop window and held up this picture in front of the Miu Miu bag}, though perhaps I am wrong.) I'd really like to be able to lust after it through the right shop window.

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to Hong Kong I go…

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We are off to Hong Kong this weekend, to see old friends and eat good food and (we suspect) spend an excessive amount of time at H&M and the Prada outlet. We're pretty excited about this, except for one thing: once again, we're missing FashBash here in Singapore, and it promises to be pretty amazing. (For starters: Large-sized shoes! As a size 41, we couldn't be more excited about this discovery.)

Be sure and report back if you make it to FashBash and see anything super-cool (it sounds like there will be a lot of great stuff). In return, we promise to return with exciting tales of Hong Kong fashion bounty.

Love, love, love…

I had a feeling you would also also love these vintage paper doll outfits, discovered via Soon Lee. And speaking of, I stopped by the Soon Lee store last weekend just as they were putting out their new stock and found the most amazing stripey dress (it might best be described as something like edgy-seersucker, which is not a combination I'd ever considered before, but which I now heartily endorse). If you're on Haji Lane in the near future, I highly recommend you stop by and see the new stuff – the Peter Pan double-collared top alone is kind of worth the visit.

Fall Shopping List #1: Wide-Legged Pants

Monday, August 13, 2007

I haven't found much that I have to have for fall (yet), but I am a teensy bit obsessed with these super-wide-legged Kensie pants. For some reason, whenever I open the August Vogue, I flip right to this ad, and I think these pants are just phenomenal. And so! They (or, at least, a reasonable facsimile) become Fall Item #1.

While I'm on the subject, I also totally dug Katie Holmes' wide-legged plaid pants (you can see a whole bunch of pix at Celebrity Baby Blog). Based on some very quick Googling for these pictures, I don't think the pro-plaid stance is the consensus among most bloggers, but I think are very cool, in that whole my-mom-in-the-70s kind of way. Thoughts?

Next up: Wide-legged jeans! I want them reeaaalllly wide, and in dark-dark-blue. Anyone seen some good ones yet?

You can't stop the beat

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I was lucky enough to get a preview of the movie musical Hairspray (which doesn't open until Aug. 23 over here) and it is fantastic. I was pretty certain I was going to love it, because I've never met a musical I didn't like, but it was even better than expected. And the best part? The costumes! (The worst part? John Travolta's weird accent!) The film is set in 1962 Baltimore, and everyone is decked out in gorgeous circle skirts and party dresses and lots of little bows. I can't wait to catch it again when it's released – in the meantime, I offer up a few tantalizing snaps from the film.

Also, is it wrong that I find Zac Efron to be quite cute, even if he is (cough) 10 years younger than me?

The next best thing to actually living in the Orla Kiely store

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Via Laissez Faire, I just found this Dubai-based interior decorating company that offers an "Orla Kiely decorating package", where they will deck out your home in all her textile and wallpaper designs. They even have two options: "Colour Classic", for those who want something a little bit neutral, and "Colour House" (my favorite, pictured here), full of all of her brightest patterns.

Now, it seems to me that this kind of takes the fun out of it, but I suppose if you are very wealthy and kind of busy and really, really love Orla Kiely, then this is probably the perfect service for you. The rest of us can just use it for inspiration.

Today's Mass Transit Read: A Look at Marc Jacobs

There's nothing I enjoy reading more than a meaty profile article, particularly ones on fashion personalities. A co-worker told me I'd love this Marc Jacobs piece by the supremely talented Amy Larocca from the New York magazine archives—and she was absolutely right. It's completely riveting: lots of great details and very candid, unexpected comments from Marc, which I found totally refreshing.

I offer as an example:

On this July morning, he’s just back from a vacation that included a trip to the Venice Biennale and Art Basel, and he’s realized that his nose is too congested to approve the box of fragrance sitting in the corner. (He’s signed off on it, anyway. “I’ll smell it when I can,” he says, shrugging.)

Also, just because of where I live, I found this pretty amusing:

It is up to Jacobs to field reporters’ questions in the crush and swarm of the after-show, to say “Blue Lagoon” a thousand times when asked about inspiration, to sign dozens of autographs for Asian journalists with no compunction about acting like teenage fans.


A Quick Public Service Announcement

In case you're not following the activity on the left column, I just wanted to mention that the second Marie Antoinette screening is now full, but we've gone ahead and added one final date: Thursday, August 28. All the details are here, if you'd like to join.

If I could marry a dress, I'm pretty sure this would be it.

Monday, August 06, 2007

You know how sometimes you see a piece that is absolutely, completely, perfectly you? (And then, if you're me, you immediately have to run to the Internet and tell everyone about it?) That's exactly how I felt when I found this gorgeous dress by Jenny Gordy, who is just blowing me away with her sweet, retro designs. I think it is just perfect. And it is also going to be up for bidding—along with a lot of other cool handmade pieces—on the One in Ten benefit auction site in a few weeks.

If you're a sewer, Jenny also put up a helpful tutorial on Peter Pan collars on her site as well. And really, if the lure of a perfect Peter Pan collar doesn't get me back to the sewing machine soon, then nothing will.

Some say punishment, I say fun!

Via Jezebel, Thai police who are being punished for minor infractions will be forced to wear a Hello Kitty armband as a mark of shame. I would have loved to have been in the meeting where that decision was made. Also, judging by the crappy quality of the band (that's actually it above), I'm going to go ahead and guess that they just got them from Bangkok Chinatown (which is actually a fairly impressive source of Helly Kitty knockoffs, fyi). It definitely doesn't look like a Sanrio-sanctioned product.

Oh, coats, I think I miss you most of all!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I know I've been a bit quiet lately, mainly due to the adjustment to this whole "daily work thing." (I'm a little bit unpracticed with the concept of blowdrying my hair every morning and having to pick out an appropriately stylish ensemble. Really, how do people put up with the relentless daily requirement to look cute?)

Truth be told, we're also back to my least favorite time of year in Singapore, at least from a shopping perspective. (Though it's been really gloomy and rainy lately, which hasn't helped much either.) This is when the U.S. magazines start teasing us with the promise of cozy autumn clothing—things like little cropped wool coats and chunky knit sweaters and pretty patterned tights. Oh, and slouchy leather boots! We can't forget about them.

Of course, it's still really hot in most of the U.S., but at least if you live there, there's the promise of future wool-requiring weather. If you find something really amazing and snuggly now, you don't have to feel too guilty about buying it because eventually, sometime around October, it can be taken of the closet. Here, we don't have that hope—even though many stores still insist on stocking a lot of wintry pieces. The other day I was in Ted Baker—a somewhat pricey but quite nice U.K. brand—and there was this gorgeous, chunky, dark gray sweater dress. It was fantastic, and yet it didn't seem fair (to my bank account or the sweater) to buy it when it's likely I'll only be able to wear it once or twice this year.

Sigh. It's enough to make a fashion lover utterly depressed (though I do find a little bit of comfort in being able to play tennis outdoors in December). The first trickle of covetable fall items isn't helping much, especially when they're as perfect as this pale gray bell-shaped coat from July's Vogue. For you others in Singapore, how do you make the best of the impossible-to-wear cold-weather fashions? I could definitely use some tips to help get through the fall.

It's mine. All mine! {Insert slight cackling here.}

Deep down—and despite my dermatologist's somewhat more rational perspective—I am utterly convinced that there is a product out there that is going to give my face the dewy, rosy, flawless skin of my magazine-fed fantasies. Unfortunately, I have not actually found this miracle product (though Nothing but Bonfires has me thisclose to ordering Philosophy's Purity Made Simple cleanser and Hope in a Jar skin cream.) And more unfortunately, this unfailing belief makes me something of a beauty marketer's dream.

So when I saw that women in the U.K. and the U.S. were literally waiting for hours in the rain to get their hands on Boots No. 7 Renew & Restore Serum—found to be an amazing wrinkle reducer and skin renewer by a BBC documentary earlier this year—my beauty radar perked up. A co-worker was headed to Bangkok on Friday. In Bangkok they have Boots. Er, would she mind stopping by one to see if it was in stock?

It was. (She actually texted me immediately to let me know she'd scored a bottle. Perhaps she saw the overexcited gleam in my eye?) Within a week, the bottle will be mine—and within a month, perhaps the great skin. No, the hope never dies.