August 28, 2013

Summer Lovin'

The night before my last exam of the school year, my mind was whirring.  Not with my course material, but with my blog.  I had been putting off my blog for the past year or so to focus on school, and had only been able to post about once a month.  The guilt began settling in, and my desire to keep my blog going for as long as possible led me to promptly set up a Facebook page for my blog the next day.  It was my first step towards rejuvenation.


Next step: blog more often.  I spent hours upon hours drafting up posts while I waited for my flight home.  This past summer, I have managed to bump up my post count to four posts a month.  Hardly close to the daily posts I used to make, but come now, I was young and naïve back then!


And finally, an idea I had toyed with about a month before summer: guest blogging.  In my stupor of studying, I discovered that there are many guest blogging opportunities out there.  Breaking out of my own little territory, introducing myself to other bloggers, and gaining exposure through other channels...I was only left pondering why I hadn't pursued guest blogging earlier!  Unexpectedly, and thrillingly, guest blogging was a huge success from the start.  I received such positive feedback from the bloggers I approached, and at one point, I even had so many guest post deadlines on my plate that I encountered major writer's block.  Here's a compilation of all the guest blogging I've done (there were many other opportunities, but one person can only write so much!):

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Rose & Pine: Fashion's Game of Musical Chairs - I speak my mind on some of the latest designer changeovers.

Rose & Pine: The Great Gatsby: '20s Inspiration - I deliver fashion tips inspired by my most anticipated movie of the year: The Great Gatsby.

This Girl's Life: A Shady Afternoon - I pick out the season's top shades.

This Girl's Life: Floral Fanatic - I teach you how to tackle florals - from beginner to advanced.

Anni's Bubble: Midriff Mama - I try my hand at making one of the runway's most daunting trends more practical for stylish moms.

Chic and Casual: One Step Ahead - I reveal a strange new trend in footwear that has me itching to embrace modernity.

What's Hanging: Florida Florals - I get inspired by Robyn of What's Hanging's trip to Florida and cook up some outfits worthy of the beachy state.

All Things Unpredictable and Chic: I See Right Through You - I show you how to wear lucite.  Clear and simple.

Makeup by Lauren P: Top Summer 2013 Hairstyles - It's never too late to look at the season's hottest hairstyles.

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But this isn't it.  I came across an advertisement looking for paid fashion bloggers in May, and without hesitation, sent in samples of my work.  Just like that, I was contacted and now, for the first time in my life, I'm getting paid to do something I truly love.  Here's a look at the work I've done so far:

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Only Swimsuits: Top Swimsuits for Every Body Type

Size Plus Dresses: Top Plus Size Summer Dresses

Vintage Fashion London: How Dandy: Yves Saint Laurent's Le Smoking

Dress in Style: Surviving the Summer to Autumn Transition

Lily and Coco: Top AW 2013 Hair Accessories

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I first knew I loved fashion writing when I sifted through every occupation I could imagine and assessed whether I was willing to go through the work required for each one.  Time and time again, I came to the conclusion that a future towards any other career would be a burden.  But when I looked at the work required to get into publishing, I felt such strong conviction and excitement.  You cannot deny when you feel a feeling like this that it is your heart's true calling.  I was willing to do anything - to push myself beyond my comfort zone - to achieve my dreams.  I've started from the lowest rung in the ladder - being a nobody in the vast world of fashion - to slowly, somtimes painfully, but always happily, climbing each individual rung.  I'm not saying I've made it anywhere near the top (and I may never), but it's been a steady progression up.  Hard work pays off.  Couldn't be truer.


Looking back, I MUST thank my friends.  The feedback I've received from them has been phenomenal.  They have always, always been my biggest supporters.  I'm so grateful to have friends who never question me even when I question myself.  In those nights of laying in bed wondering whether my passion is a mere hobby, I remember my friends and it's through their confidence that I gain my own strength.  Thank you, my dear friends, for your incredible support.  This is not my accomplishment, but ours.

Image Source: Photo 1, 2, 3

August 15, 2013

I am trendy!

"I never try to be trendy."  That seems to be fashion's favourite phrase, but in reality, what nonsense!  Everyone in fashion who utters that phrase seems to say it with such pride, as if they are so horribly different and admirable.  Face it - it's an overused phrase.  It's the equivalent of "They're just like us!" in celebrity gossip.  If no one's trying to be trendy, then what's so special about not being trendy?


Fashion designers and style setters constantly insist, vehemently, that they are not trendy.  It's as if they believe the world around them to be madly buzzing with panicked trendsetters, while they stand nonchalantly in the centre, oblivious to all that goes on around them, proudly proclaiming their unique style.  But open your eyes and you'll see a bevy of people just like you, with their heads in the clouds thinking that not being à la mode is something special.  I have no doubt that you have a unique personal style, and in fact, I probably even admire it!  But the phrase "I'm not trendy"?  Fashion has been so heavily criticized for caring about what's hot that the whole idea of being trendy has sunken into a pit of negativity. 


I adore classic fashion through and through, but I also love being trendy and experimenting with the latest innovations.  Being in vogue does not mean you're a slave to fashion.  We need to get rid of that connotation.  Being trendy just means you enjoy the constant hunt for new shapes, new fabrics, and new ways of flattering your body.  You can still wear pieces that are considered on trend, and express your inner personal style.  If you stay true to who you are, wearing trends will not, in fact, make you like everyone else.  You will be you.  And after all, fashion is never static.  Trends cycle.  What's red hot in one season is classic in another, and vice versa.  It's exasperating when designers assert that their designs are not trendy.  If you think about it, designers play a significant role in developing trends in the first place, so please, stop the charades!


There's nothing wrong with designing or wearing classic pieces.  Everyone needs their basics.  Everyone has their own personal style that doesn't always run parallel to what's in style a certain season.  But don't try to pass yourself as being better than those who follow trends.  All you're doing is hunkering behind the safety of classicism, when there's a whole world beyond you bustling with excitement, and most importantly, potential.  You're missing out if you define yourself as not being something so integral to the nature of fashion.  Take a stand, and don't be afraid to say, "I am trendy!"

Image Source: Photo1, Photo2, Photo3

August 7, 2013

Vionnet Fall 2013 Couture

I may have witnessed the fall of Christian Lacroix and Givenchy's current break from couture, but I have also witnessed the return of Atelier Versace, Viktor & Rolf, and most recently, Vionnet.  Vionnet is an especially heartwarming return, seeing as Madeleine Vionnet is among the early couturiers, known for her Grecian dresses and popularizing the bias cut.  In my eyes, she is as evanescent as Madame Grès: both of whom will always be referenced in modern fashion, but whom I will never be able to truly experience.  So with Goga Ashkenazi at the helm bringing back Vionnet couture, I couldn't even care less that she decided on merely demi-couture.  No, her latest collection doesn't rival Christian Dior Fall 2011 Couture, but it far exceeds the Alexis Mabille collection I just posted about; it's on such a different plane that it scores major points as a beautiful collection that is still close to my heart.

The music was what first hooked me.  Alluring classical music (oh, how I love the piano!) set a mood of pure opulence, but it had a more vibrant, rhythmic beat that played wonderfully against the idea of demi-couture.  It started off, naturally, with a bias cut dress that was easily the most stunning look of the entire collection.  An amazing emerald green laminated matte satin half-peplum cutting across a minimalistic slip, with soft pleats along the hip that dissipate into a draped skirt.   Stunning.


The "demi-couture" comes in with the modern aspects of the collection - sheer gazar, teasing leg, and at times, a flatly draped cut.  I found these more casual notes to be an invigorating departure from how couture is generally envisioned to be.  But as casual as some aspects were, it was never casual to the point of ready-to-wear.  Remarkable, sweeping capes ensured we all knew this was still couture.


Couture has had its high moments, and it's had its low moments.  Couturiers have come and gone.  But remember this: couture has never died.  Couture revolutionized what it meant to be a fashion designer, and it will continue to stay at the heart of today's (and tomorrow's) fashion scene.  No matter how wearable the public demands fashion to be, couture is what keeps the spirit of fashion alive - it is what allows us to keep dreaming.

Watch the entire show here.

Image Source: Style.com

August 4, 2013

Alexis Mabille Fall 2013 Couture

Oh, couture.  The season that makes every fashion lover's heart flutter.  Nonetheless, I think it's safe to say that I haven't been truly infatuated by a Couture collection since Christian Dior Fall 2010 Couture.  Nothing - not even Givenchy's ethereal creations - has lifted me up to the same level of euphoria that Dior did back then.  However, Alexis Mabille came close this season.

So close that Youtube users are comparing him to John Galliano at Dior (To the one user who so venomously denied that this was Dior: Face it, Galliano redefined Dior to the point they were one and the same, and this collection undoubtedly breathed wisps of Galliano's work.  After all, Mabille did work under Galliano at Dior for 9 years...).  Mabille took the sweeping brushstrokes of 19th century painter Giovanni Boldini as inspiration, resulting in a painterly sensibility not unlike the one Galliano possessed when he emulated flower petals on his dresses.  Mabille applied his inspiration to trouser legs, leading to a stunning set of muted, ombré pants that reflected very well the true character of paint.  I adore these pants.


There were only two pairs before the show moved on to a play on texture.  Lace and satin, embellishment and organza...all in a lovely pastel palette.  The minimalistic shoes acted as a great blank canvas on which to showcase the clothing, and the "pressed" flowers in the hair heightened the decadence.  Trousers were as fitted as if they were painted on, but every look had a blasé edge that mirrored the trailing end of a brushstroke.


From here on is where Mabille had a slight mishap, stunting its ability to rival Dior's work.  Mabille began to show leg-of-mutton sleeves and duchess satin gowns.  The change of pace was too heavy, and the stiff folds of the dresses were harsh.  One creation had an unfortunate resemblance to the Grim Reaper, albeit in a slick, almost metallic cloak.  I do agree with Nicole Phelps of Style.com when she calls this portion of the show "more of a thud" than luminous.  But all was not lost; a sophisticated cross-body neckline dress with a cascading string of pearls reminded us that the collection had its moments worthy of praise. 


The initial blasé air soon gave off a slovenly appearance when the leg-of-mutton sleeves billowed into excessive volume.  Volume can be done well, but it becomes very difficult in duchess satin.  Few designers have made it work for contemporary times.  It ended up being a simple black velvet gown with a flower design that stole the latter end of the show.


It's not rare to see growing designers start their show better than they end it, or vice versa.  An incoherent collection signals the lack of a strong, solid vision, or a misunderstanding of how different pieces come together to create a melodic tune.  Experienced designers start strong, and end strong.  However, this is not a review against Mabille.  Remember, he had almost equaled Dior in my eyes!  I find him to be a talented designer.  Phelps picked on the fact that his exaggerated shoulders would never be worn by the living woman, but my oh my, have you forgetten that this is couture?  That this is fashion?  (Evidently, Phelps has not yet proved to me she is a critic among the ranks of Tim Blanks).  Designing is a process of growth that takes many years of hard work, thick skin, and gritty experience.  Mabille's passion shows he has potential.  You start strong, you end strong.

Watch the entire show here.

Image Source: Style.com