Monday, January 31, 2011

The Invisible Shoe

Watch your step! Or can you? (Chortle). Andrea Chaves, a designer from Sao Paulo (my city of birth) has created invisible shoes. The surface has have been covered in mirrors so that the wearer's feet blends into the background. Those with big feet (a la moi) rejoice! As most fashion items tend to precariously balance form and function, style and substance, some being more practical or more artistic than others, its clear that this is one of those cases where the balance is heavily skewered towards the architectural/ artistic design side. Now, does the fact that my first thought was how it would match the invisibilty cloak from Harry Potter make me a real geek? Soon to be seen (or not?!) on Lady Gaga's feet no doubt.

Source: Lost at E Minor

Saturday, January 29, 2011

emotional [bag]agge

Top with print: Lanvin by H&M. Side satchel: Marc Jacobs

This is Priscilla. She's an awesome friend of ours from Holland, and was visiting Hong Kong for a few days en route to Australia. I had literally just got back from Beijing and our routes overlapped for a day and a half, and so I rose to the challenge of trying to show her as much of the greatness of the 852 as possible. It definitely was a sprint, not a marathon , in this case. Knowing she was a bit of a fashionista, I gave her more of an aesthetically biased tour of Hong Kong. And she certainly dressed the part, in a mixture of high fashion and high street.

She being a Hong Kong market neophyte, my sightseeing tour basically went like this: Granville road in TST, amazing bargain quirky finds without the overcrowded mosh pit air of the more famous bargain-filled Ladies Market in Mong Kok. Harbour City mall, then Star Ferry (I love having friends in town so that I have an excuse to ride it). In central, we perused IFC mall and street shops like Maple (which I LOVE LOVE LOVE). The Landmark, where we spent a hefty amount of time in Marc Jacobs. Then, of course, the Peak, where one can get a stunning 360 degree view of the urban jungle I call home. For a well-deserved meal that is literally my favorite dish in Hong Kong: proscuitto and truffle pizza at Cafe Deco. Yum. The Peak is very touristy so I often struggle to convince my friends to make it up there. (Did I mention why I love having friends in town?! Chortle.) So, yeah OK I basically took them on my dream day in my home city, but c'mon ladies, you can't deny it was flawless! :)

I'm still on the hunt for that dream leather side bag in a shade of camel/mauve/coffee/ chocolate/[insert other pretentious version of the color brown here. Damn hair colorist marketing teams, making every hair color sound delicious. Hmmm, honey caramel! Suddenly I have the urge to eat this ammonia and I don't like it! Once again, I digress...]

Here are a couple of snapshots of side bags that I saw out and about and adored.

This one below I actually got in Beijing, at Ya Show market, famous for bargains (and fakes). It's not a famous label (unless you have heard of Dukamou, which apparently is "Spanish" the lady told me but sounds very Asian...? Correct me if I am wrong..). In Beijing, it's a common rule that whatever price you are offered initially is pretty much 3/4 times any reasonable amount, and that one must start haggling at 15% of what they offer. This is sometimes met with a cry of "Kai shenme wanxiao!" Which translates to "You're kidding!".

Anyhoo, I managed to bargain down from 900RMB to a more reasonable 120RMB within about 10 minutes, my somewhat dubious Chinese not adept enough to convey much except "I'm a poor student please make it cheaper". It's pretty much my favorite bag at the moment.

But as always, I'm still on the lookout.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Amour: 2011 Valentines

My Paris-loving friends! You will be so proud of me. I kept the Italian French poodle card that said "Amore" and made a special "Amour" heart card.

Here is the completed set of 10 Valentines for Valerie's Diamond Lady in Washington state. I decided to keep the purple Louvre Valentine for myself, and made another Louvre card for this order with a photo I took while walking through one of the museum's many rooms.
You may recognize the statue of the lady from my previous post about my trip to the Louvre.

It's been very cold and snowy here in Pennsylvania where I live, and these "warm and fuzzy" cards have added some magic and sparkle to toast the cockles of my soul - along with several cups of piping hot tea. 

Restez au chaud mon amour!
And now ... here are the wedding cards. Because what comes first? First comes love, then comes marriage!
No more card posts for a while. I have a delightful cooking related post to share with you next time. Until then ... have a wonderful rest of the week!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hong Kong Fashion Week 2011

In my new job as a buyer, I was lucky enough to squeeze in an attendance to Hong Kong fashion week. A whirlwind of trade shows, fashion shows, eclectic cosmopolitans searching for the next shoe/dress/ handbag, it was a very fun couple of days.

Here is a fur fashion show that showcased the work of several fur suppliers. Vegans, vegetarians, aspiring zoologists, and any form of animal lover nefarious or saintly shield your eyes now; being Hong Kong, China, PETA apparently had bigger issues to worry about than storming this show with their usual paint-filled fur protests. It's not normally my cup of tea, but I chanced upon this show as I was wandering around.

As usual I didn't hesitate to take snapshots of any outfits/ accessories that I thought were eye-catching. I love the preppy, boyish style above, especially the leather briefcase a la Alexa Chung.
I saw this girl at fashion week, noting the cropped harem-style jeans and bright orange high tops with a mix of curiosity and awe. Just typing those words out one would think these items and 'style' are mutually exclusive, but here she manages to pull it off. Even rocking a canadian tuxedo in the process. How very Fresh Prince of Belair! Will Smith would be proud. Fashion kudos to you, unknown-stranger-who-I-snapped-from-behind-which-I-just-realised-is-slightly-creepy-I-am-so-not-using-hyphens-correctly-am-I. All in the name of style documentation, of course.
LOVE the over-size (another hyphen, I have a sickness!) cable-knit sweater this girl was wearing as I made my way to the fashion week downtown.

Alas, I was not there in a solely glamorous capacity. I was also searching for suppliers for various apparel we were looking to buy. I rather enjoyed seeing what was out there, the newest textiles on the markets, learning about different fabrics and why polyester is the cheap substitute for nylon ("we can make it in polyester and give you half-price"). Finding out the wholesale prices of items I often purchase was equal parts fascinating, amusing, and brutally painful. Don't think I will ever be able to shop properly again! As if my overwhelming fear of shopper's remorse isn't acute enough already, I have to find out that that scarf for [insert common high street brand] is actually around 2 USD at wholesale price?Often the same manufacturer would supply various shops, of varying industry standings, say Debenhams and Walmart. When I wasn't absorbed in product hunting, I was privy to new season collections to some of my favorite labels like Topshop, that had not even arrived in stores yet. THAT, was cool. There were several trend forecaster companies there too who warranted a bit more of my time than was necessary, just to flick through their various catalogues. Sigh. Good times.

See that pink faux-fur lined cape above? I had to fight the urge to ask for random samples for stuff we weren't there to find.

Can't wait until S/S 2012. If like me, you suddenly had a yearning for some Fresh Prince, enjoy. Style inspiration and references can come from anywhere.


Friday, January 21, 2011

The Louvre Valentine

Don't you just love the Louvre? How about a Louvre Valentine's Day card? It's one of my latest creations for an upcoming special order. This card features a photograph I took when I visited the Louvre with my tour group in September of 2010. 
During my visit at the world-renowned museum, we were treated to a private tour by an astute gentleman who had worked there for 12 years and then started his own business. How wonderful to experience the Louvre with an expert by your side to make the visit more "interactive."

As we walked through the grand halls and exhibits, I was remembering things from Art History and Art Appreciation classes and was able to ask questions. For instance, I asked, "What does the name 'Louvre' mean?" I was told it might have evolved from a slang/colloquial way of referring to the area that was used before the museum was in place, when it may have been more fortress than castle, and people would say, "Let's go down to the 'lower.'" Lower/Louvre - think how words evolve from Latin and break down, build up. Which brings me to the photo below.

In this photo, look closely at stone blocks. They are on exhibit when you first enter the museum and were unearthed when builders were working on the land where the exhibit stands. Do you see the hearts engraved on the stone (upper right side of the photo and bottom center)? That's a "brand" mark. Back in olden times, the suppliers of the block bricks would carve a simple symbol - in this case, a heart - into the stone, as a way of identifying their business.
 I loved being able to take photos in the Louvre...

I wish I could have taken more!
One of the most interesting things was not just seeing the Mona Lisa on exhibit at the Louvre, but also see all the people trying to take a photograph of that great painting!
So I took a picture of people taking a picture of the Mona Lisa! This was when I officially got separated from my group and almost began to cry like a five-year-old! Thankfully, my tour guide came back and found me.

But what if I were left behind at the Louvre? I wouldn't have minded sleeping under the Mona Lisa and staying another day ...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

J'aime Caniches Français

Caniches Français is French Poodle. And if you read my earlier post, you know - I'm back to making handmade cards. Just for a special order. And so I had to show you the new French Poodle card I made last night ...
My Bichon Frise, Chloe Honeygo Beasley thinks they're divine (of, course - they're her kind) but not exactly. So she's asking, "Where's mine?"

P.S. As you'll see, the poodle may be French, but the heart ornament has the word "Love" in Italian - "Amore" (in French it's "Amour"). I got my romance languages confused! I am going to fix it ... right now. Or do you think it's okay to have a French poodle that speaks Italian? : )

Monday, January 17, 2011

Card Couture

My Bichon Frise, Chloe Honeygo Beasley now has a line of handmade cards named after her. As some of you may know, I used to make handmade cards that sold on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, CA. At that time, the line was simply called "Card Art by Cynthia." When a previous client contacted me to "come out of retirement" and make some cards for an upcoming Valentine/Wedding event, I decided to rename the cards. Viola - here they are! These are just the first few of the work in progress - a sneak peak for my blog friends. Of course, I had to include a little Paris charm into the whole business.