We'll always have Paris

Prior to my trip to Paris, I've had the plan, like all tourists, to get some 'picture perfect paris' (PPP) photos taken. I've came to a point, when mentally and physically gearing oneself for fashion week, to realize that running around the shows actually require a decent amount of sleep and a pair of really comfortable shoes; both things that I can, quite confidentially, say I lacked during my week in Paris. And when there is time between the shows, one should really jump at the opportunity to grab un sandwich au jambon or even a photoshoot around the Arc de Triomphe.

When I visited a few years ago, the PPP in my memory had plenty of pretty little bistros. No doubt there are still many because whenever I start conversation with a Parisian with the question, 'what restaurants do you recommend?' The answer begins with an exhale, a smile and a blunt reply, 'there's too many to count.' And I would politely chuckle, then wait the person to list them out. But they never do. At most, they'd say 'plenty of bistros and brasseries'. If there are really that many good restaurants, what's the harm in letting me know the few gems of Paris? Overcoming the fact that Parisians are not keen to reveal the secret, there were days when I literally could not find a good-looking bistro that serves a handsome soupe à l'oignon and instead, settled for quick grab-and-go sushi from sushi shop (cravings satisfied thank you Monsieur Robuchon). Then again, I had an incredibly busy week which meant less exploring and also had my fair share of mild harassments from groups of women to 'sign petitions' and a man even dared to claim that I have 'dropped some change' when I didn't even take my wallet out… all in all to complete the whole Paris experience.

Don't get me wrong. I think one of the reasons why people get upset with Paris is because of the overhype in movies and the general disappointment when they can't find 'la vie en rose'. Reality hits when tourists realize Paris  is not actually the idealized land of beauty (hence Paris syndrome which I just discovered actually existed). Yes, there are times of stress when you don't comprehend every single word on the menu or the language barrier… but isn't that also the beauty of the city? To me, PPP is when you stroll around River Seine, watch the Tour Eiffel sparkle at night, people watch at L'Avenue while crunching down un confit de canard. But throughout the week, I've also had the pleasure to explore the real outskirts of Paris, including the Philharmonie de Paris (thanks Kenzo).   I left Paris wanting to convince people Paris is worth it and worth the love if you can manage to overcome that primary stage of Paris syndrome which, I'm sure, more than the dozen of Japanese tourists experience annually. But fear not, because we'll always have Paris.

:: Outfit details ::

Coat - Asos

Blazer - Noose & Monkey

White Shirt - Brooks Brothers 

Trousers - Zara

Tie - Chanel

Belt - Atelier Gustavolins

Sunglasses - Ray-ban

Loafers - Topman


To be continued… #tbc

Dice Kayek Haute Couture SS15

Through the doll-eyed makeup on the models, or perhaps actual life-sized dolls, the inspiration from Dice Kayek's SS15 'The Dollhouse' collection was pretty evident. In the real world, models are, as I'd imagine, described as 'pretty dolls' fairly often... but these models look as if they just walked out of a dollhouse and you can just tell that there is something about the way they walk. The inspiration for the collection was heavily drawn from the hypersexual and distorted drawings of doll sculpture artists; sketches that even portrayed models that were physical unconscious from the German artist Hans Bellmer, the Pikes of visual artist Annette Messager and the fetish dolls of Louise Bourgeois.

The simple element of hand-stitching in dolls were kept and incorporated into the couture collection; alternating between construction and deconstruction. Among the collection, the pink structured crepe dress stood out along with the deconstructed white silk dress. There's drama in the sleeves, for sure. The Turkish couture house of sisters Ece and Ayse Ege opted for mini dresses with puffy sleeves (rather than the more conventional embellished, lengthy, voluminous gowns). To me, it is as if a bespoke tailoring request was received from a modern day princess because you have to be someone special to wear the mid-sleeve rouge dress, or the black embellished gown with armour gemstone shoulder pads. 

The duo perfected what the public wanted in terms of desirability. 'It's very wearable,' a woman exclaimed her content for the collection when the lights came on after the show, 'and that's very unusual for haute couture.' From assymetrical jackets and dresses, to geometric-cut, multi-layer dresses, there's variety in the collection.

Even in heavier fabrics like leather and thick silk, colour was not spared. But embellishments and embroidery were generally avoided except for the tetris dress with multicolor patchworks. It's a unique and brave approach, with all looks accompanied with a pair of sky-high mary janes. I really liked how the designer picked out the 'bad' (or the freakiness and tough/ugly side of being a doll) in the fetish dolls and evolved the 'good' to make something fantastic... the pretty, innocent side. It's an attempt to preserve the fusion of juvenile purity and mature fetishism. The soundtrack of the finale, Tori Amos' 'Leather', seemed to be the perfect soundtrack as it dug into the eeriness and innocence of the models… or dolls… or models. Either way, I'm hypnotized.

 

To be continued… #tbc

LC:M Outfits x Noose & Monkey

Choosing what to wear to fashion week is exciting. But being dressed to fashion week is a privilege. I was dressed by Noose & Monkey, an English brand that uses bold colours to create unique tailoring pieces, during London Collections: Men. 

'A story of mistaken identity and disguise' as described on their website. During the Napoleonic Wars, the French navy would dress their pet monkey in the officers' uniform. After being shipwrecked off Hartlepool, the monkey was found in the shores and was mistaken by the (then) Anglicans to be a Frenchman. The monkey was thought to be an enemy and was hung by a noose. Noose & Monkey wishes to explore the truth and the the lie, the innocent and the guilty, the Noose and the Monkey through their designs; mixing these two sides of the story to create tailoring that stands out from the rest. 

Forgive my repetition of the word 'bold', but it really does take some boldness to wear these prints. I was never really a fan of loud things because I was never one that would purposely seek attention (regardless of good or bad). It makes sense to think of a few simple looks ahead for fashion week and plan ahead. Mixing prints is a skill in the whole fashion week 'dress up'. But where does the line draw between looking good, alright, and somewhat of a mess? 

While I dashed my way to the Pringle of Scotland AW15 Men's show on LCM Day 3 from my University town, I wore the beautiful (and really, I mean beautiful because it felt like wearing bouquets of flowers on my torso) Noose & Monkey floral blazer with a simple white turtleneck and McQueen scarf. I overtook a group of three who were happily chatting away. And by happily, I mean quite cheerfully, even clarmorously... until I walked pass them (as they occupied the whole width of the path). I even walked off the road so that I can pass them, in the hope that they wouldn't say anything or comment on my attention-seeking jacket. But how naive was I. They fell completely silent as soon as I returned to the uphill path, followed by a few whispers. 'What was he thinking?' 'Where is he going?' I immediately felt a sense of unease (like Susie in the 'Mean Streets' of Seven Sisters, picturing the stares and fingers the jacket attracted. It took enough confidence for me to choose and walk out with that blazer, why the hate? Isn't the 'everyone should wear what they want' policy embraced by, if not most, all? 

I dare say men have it worse than women. If a man wore a pink suit and dress shoes (rather extravagant, I know), one would do double takes and gather false presumptions; but if a woman dresses in a tailored suit, she would have grasped a  'balance of masculinity and femininity'? Women get to play around with a wider accepted range of styles and it's certainly an advantage. After all, there is a greater population of this sex, but where's the gender equality when unisex stores always, ALWAYS, have the men's section either at the very back of the shop, in the basement, or even a hike all the way to the rooftop?

I'll take this opportunity to reply the group of three: 'I wanted to stand out, for all the good reasons. And where am I going? LC:M'. You can shop their clothing on asos and on their newly updated store on their website and stay tuned for the new collection. I also have the priviledge to be featured by FashionTV, so I'm sure I'm doing more good than bad. 

:: Outfit 1 details ::

Floral Blazer - Noose & Monkey

White Turtleneck - Topman 

Trousers - Zara

:: Outfit 2 details ::

Hype x Noose & Monkey Velvet  Blazer - Noose & Monkey

T-shirt - Custom Made

Jeans - Topman

Scarf - Alexander McQueen

 

 

To be continued…#tbc

Agi & Sam Autumn/ Winter 2015

Colourblocking was the first word that came to everyone's minds when the Agi & Sam opened their AW15 show. Perhaps the second thing I looked at, after the clothing, was the presentation of the models (from he way they walked to their hairstyles). What really jumped from the show, and quite frankly nearly got me to JUMP out of my seat so to snatch one myself, were the handmade lego masks by make-up artist and i-D beauty editor Isamaya Ffrench. 

With a strong emphasis on entirely bespoke print and humour, we believe that fashion should never be taken too seriously
— Agi & Sam

The invitation arrived in a pack of individual puzzle pieces, waiting to be solved by the guests. Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton stripped out the 'serious' in fashion and was inspired by Agi's childhood drawings to make "The Coolman Collection" AW15. Reminding us the days of excitement when we discovered lego and the playful element in design by using primary colours. The sleeves, extended to a point where fingers were completely hidden, were worn in a way I did back when clothing never fit so well... and I'm fairly positive that I wasn't the only one to have had a phase of curling the ends of my sleeves into a ball around my wrist. It's okay to "play on" and "just imagine" (as lego slogans told us to).

I remember the time when I first got to know the brand through their collaboration with Topman back in 2012 and recalled that it was 'something different' due to their distinct prints in 'The Owls' collection. The design duo met while working at Alexander McQueen before setting up their own brand which has now stocked at Mr Porter, MatchesFashion, Liberty, I.T and D-POP (Hong Kong) and even Seoul, Japan and Dubai. For now, theys wish to focus on menswear and perhaps a women's line when time feels right. 

When I was young, I asked my teacher what the happiest days of her life were. She responded that they were during her childhood. Playful and happy; "it's my inner child!" Agi described. I'm delighted to know that there's 'loads of things Agi & Sam want to speak to kids about', meaning there's much more of this to come and much more fun to look forward to.

 

To be continued…#tbc