February 22, 2015

Right On Point

Note: I actually bought these shoes a year ago, but finally got the chance to post this!

As mentioned in Missing the Point, I've been searching for the perfect pair of black, pointed toe flats to go with my business pants.  It was surprisingly difficult to find a good pair - either the design was too boring, too trendy, or the material wasn't quality enough. Although not perfect, these flats from Town Shoes were my closest bet, being the only pair I still had my eye on after months of searching.

What really sold me on these flats was the softness of the bowties, and the leather inner and upper. Despite experiencing some doubt over the fabric piping, I realized the chances of me finding a better pair of shoes were slim.

However, the process of obtaining these flats was an absolute headache.  I had initially waited too long for these $140 pair of shoes to go on sale, to the point all the stores in my city no longer had them in stock by the end of the summer. I thought all was lost until I went back to university for the start of the school year, and found them nestled in the sales rack of one of the local malls.  They had a green pair for $40, but the black pair was discounted only to $120.  The green pair was an obvious steal, but in the end, it was the black I needed.  Could I wait any longer and risk having them go out of stock again?  After much internal struggle, I took the opportunity before me and purchased both colours. I consider that purchase one of the biggest splurges I have ever made, and I would be lying if I said it didn't hurt when I passed over my credit card.  But for the sake looking more put together at work and during business occasions, sacrifices must be made.  They also look killer with a pair of dark-wash skinny jeans, so...I guess they're worth it.

February 20, 2015

Alexander Wang for H&M

Ok, ok, I know. Alexander Wang for H&M came out 3 months ago, so my annual H&M collaboration review is somewhat pointless. But you can appreciate fashion whenever you wish - not just when it's in-stores.

My first real encounter with Alexander Wang was back in 2010 when I came across a velvet and chiffon dress of his in Holt Renfrew, but it wasn't until a couple months later when he released his Fall/Winter 2011 RTW collection that I finally started to appreciate his design ability and aesthetic. Let's take a look at what he did for H&M:

Looks like Wang's inviting us to become an agent in his new-age, underground army. Wang's signature athleticism is alive and kicking (and throwing a couple punches) in his "come at me" urbanwear. I was getting Ender's Game vibes from this video - futuristic fighters carrying out a grand plan with Wang at the helm.

The pieces are utilitarian, with grey tones that highlight your inner strength and power. Snakeskin and geometric patterns add fashion flair to the stone shades; you can always count on Wang to shake things up with achingly cool street gear. What I found most interesting was the humorously obnoxious use of Alexander Wang's logo. Is Wang simply riffing on the idea that H&M consumers are more keen on showing off the fact they are wearing a designer collaboration, or is he creating an identifier for his urban troop? Whatever it is, if you're a part of the Alexander Wang army, you are certainly not to be underestimated.

Image Source: AvantGuardian, EOnline

February 18, 2015

Maison Martin Margiela Spring 2015 Couture

In case you didn't know, there was a big news story in fashion last month.  On January 12, John Galliano made a triumphant return to fashion.

I remember when he was disgraced from Christian Dior back in 2011 for anti-Semitic remarks. In fact, I wrote a response to his firing on the same day I learned of the news - which was, in hindsight, not the best idea. You may be able to tell in the post my immediate opinion was clouded by emotion and was, as a result, irrational. After my shock and anger settled (and thanks to all the wonderful comments that gave me a reality check), I realized I was too rash in admonishing Dior for letting Galliano go. I was looking at things from a fashion perspective, which was quite foolish considering there was a much larger social issue at hand.  "If Dior is firm on their position to keep Galliano out, then I worry for the future of the house,"...really, 2011-self?  Of course Galliano had to be let go from Dior; no other decision would have been appropriate. And in no way would such a historic, storied house like Dior crumble because of the absence of one man, albeit an ingeniously creative one.

But here we are, three years later. I've admitted my mistakes, and so has Galliano. What now? After a stint behind-the-scenes at Oscar de la Renta, Galliano made the stunning announcement he would be taking the post of Creative Director at Maison Martin Margiela. What made this so much more shocking than any other new-Creative-Director announcement was that it was for Margiela. Since 2009, Margiela has remained a secretive entity. Its design team is nameless and faceless. Anonymity is Margiela's brand, and anonymity is what makes the design house so unique. Now, all of a sudden, the mystique was to be broken. Galliano's announcement was a very bittersweet moment. On one hand, I was ecstatic Galliano's talent would once again be gifted to us, but disappointed Margiela would cease to remain distinctively abstract and elusive. I cherished the idea of a such a private organization existing in our modern world of celebrity and publicity.

Nonetheless, when Galliano's first collection for the label came out, I practically had to distance myself from it in order to fully appreciate it. I needed time to process the gravity of the moment. Luckily, the patience was well worth it.

This is a beautiful collection both in itself and in the milestone it represents for Galliano. There was magnificently intricate play on volume, deconstruction, texture and 3D depth, along with a penchant for the grotesque that is characteristic of the maison. My friend quite cleverly described the collection as an interplay between work-in-progress and finished product. The main collection consisted of tan, black, and red creations, but the final procession was a bleached, white-washed version of the previously shown garments. Which set is the final product?  That's up to you to decide.

Yet what was most beautiful was how the signature Galliano extravagance found its way into the mix. Having been deprived of his romanticism for so long, this collection was among the most satisfying of experiences. I was also pleasantly surprised to see his ability to exercise a level of restraint; some of the final dresses were so sleek and seamless the models' bodies became blood-red columns.

Lastly, can we all just please savour the moment when Galliano steps out - incredibly sleek and debonair in a white lab coat, tie and slick hair - for a modest bow? This used to be the man who would make the final bow a show in itself. Margiela is truly a new chapter for Galliano, and this collection will forever mark the return of one of fashion's greatest talents. With a big sigh of relief and barely contained excitement, the words on everyone's lips were, "He's back!"

Image Source: ChicVersion

February 16, 2015

What a CutiePie

So today, I just wanted to give a life update.  In Ms. Role Model, I blogged about how difficult it was for me to find women in media to look up to, but that I managed to find a role model in Ashley Perez, video producer at Buzzfeed. Who would have thought that 2 months later, I'd find another female personality to admire! I would like to share more about her in hopes I can help you along the way of finding your own idol. I still strive to have the confidence that Ashley so wonderfully encapsulates, but my new heroine is someone I find to be relatable. She is Marzia Bisognin (alias CutiePieMarzia), an Italian YouTuber.

I first discovered Marzia through her boyfriend Felix Kjellberg (alias PewDiePie), the most subscribed user on YouTube (sidenote: even though I'm definitely not a gamer, I think he's a fantastic comedic personality and he is among my favourite YouTubers). Admittedly, when I first saw her, I had immediately brushed her off as "just another pretty face". There are already too many gorgeous girls on the Internet whose main purpose is to look good in front of the camera, and I thought Marzia would be one of them. However, the more I saw of her in PewDiePie's videos, the more I realized I had perhaps wrongfully labelled her. My skepticism about her finally dissolved when I decided to watch this video where she does a Q&A. This became the exact moment I shed my icy, doubtful façade and began to adore her genuine character.

To state the obvious, Marzia is stunningly beautiful. But what makes her so refreshing is that she is open about the fact she is incredibly shy and socially awkward. She talks about having always been made fun of in school for being too skinny, and that she struggled to learn how to love her body. You can sometimes see her social anxiety come through in videos where she meets new people or does something she's not comfortable with, and in many ways, it's like watching myself. In terms of being shy and quiet, Marzia and I share the same story.

What I love most about her is that she doesn't want you to think she's perfect. She's not the kind of girl who primps her hair on camera and constantly checks her reflection to make sure she looks flawless in each frame. In fact, Marzia's not afraid to pull a face, be a little weird, or play along with a joke. She's posted photos of herself without makeup, addressed the fact people think she has "bushy" eyebrows (seriously, if her eyebrows are bushy, then mine are forests) and too-high a voice, and has not kept it a secret that her enviable wavy hair is actually the product of hair extensions - her natural hair is apparently very flat (and I can definitely relate to that). All in all, she's down to earth. She's been frank about how she struggled with finances early on, tried endlessly to find a job with minimal English skills, and essentially worked hard to make enough money for food and her half of the rent. She doesn't drink, smoke or swear, and that's a breath of fresh air in our modern culture.

And as if personality wasn't enough, I also quite like her sense of style. We both adore feminine, pretty pieces, and I love that she has her own unique take on fashion and isn't wearing something simply because it's the latest trend. I think because we are both shy people, fashion becomes the medium through which we take risks and exercise self-expression. I also notice that she tends to wear tights underneath dresses, prefers one-piece swimsuits, and is smart enough to wear comfortable flats for daily activities. Edit: Marzia now knows I admire her fashion sense after I commented on her blogShe has mentioned she doesn't use any hair products except for a quick spritz of hairspray on her bangs, and prefers to tie her hair up in a bun instead of using heat to achieve waves. Overall, she has a kind of modesty and realness that I admire.

So there you have it.  I just wanted to share with you someone I admire, and want you to know that the best people out there are those who aren't perfect. To all those who insist on perfection, little do they know imperfections are the very things that make us beautiful.

PS: Relationship goals = Marzia and Felix. They have such a romantic love story and are definitely the power couple of YouTube.

Image Source: Twitter, Instagram, Chictopia

February 13, 2015

Fashion Blogs are Dying

Fashion blogs are dying.  Take it from the girl who writes one.

Just as there are now famous personalities on YouTube, Instagram and Vine, there were once famous fashion bloggers. There still are - but they are no longer what they used to be. Blogging was at its peak in 2011 and 2012, right when I decided to join the community. Fashion blogs were a dime a dozen, but everyone had dreams of becoming the next Sartorialist, Style Rookie or Cupcakes & Cashmere. We watched bloggers sit front row beside industry elite, and we all secretly wondered whether an influential fashion insider would chance upon our blog and "discover" us. We spent hours commenting on other fashion blogs, blithely leaving our URLs at the bottom of each comment, desperately trying to drive traffic to our sites with "follow for a follow" promises (although between you and me, I hated playing that game and I never actually followed anyone).

But as much as fashion blogging was sometimes a shallow system, there was a community. I still remember the people whose blogs I would visit everyday, and who would visit mine in return. I remember how we marvelled at our surprisingly similar personalities and opinions, gifted each other with blogging awards, and of course, bonded over our passion for fashion. It was this community that I owed my thanks to for the initial growth and visibility of my blog.

However, the tides changed in the world of social media when platforms such as Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube showed us the power of having fewer words and more visuals. New talent was being discovered on these platforms, and blogs were suddenly the old mom trying to be hip and cool. Blogging became increasingly self-centered (I remember coming across blogs where people simply posted 10 different full sized photos of themselves in the same outfit), and if you were just going to post photos of OOTDs with two or three lines of text, then you may as well have done it on a site that was actually made for that, such as Instagram. Blogging stopped trending, we lost interest, and we moved on. Tavi Gevinson saw the impending shift and knew when to move beyond the blog and into other creative outlets. Any fashion blogger would be lying if they said they still have the same community they once did in their comments section. I recall the days of scrolling through The Sartorialist's hundreds of comments. Nowadays, The Sartorialist clocks in at less than 50 comments per post.  The Sartorialist, people.  At one point probably the most popular of fashion blogs. Even I've seen a noticeable impact on my blog.  In case you were wondering, I'm very much aware I basically have zero comments per post. One if I'm lucky. Two years ago, I received an average of 20-40.

To be fair, the community still exists, but not on the blog itself. The community is now on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, so if you want to continue staying relevant, you better be on there too.

Feeling nostalgic, I decided to revisit some of the bloggers I used to know.  Many have stopped blogging, some have deleted their sites, and only a handful remain active. The obvious question is, why am I still here?  And the answer is simple: I love fashion blogging. I imagine some bloggers joined the community hoping to chase fame, while others just as a passing hobby, but I joined as a form of self-expression. I did hope to connect with like-minded individuals, but I've gotten more than I could've ever asked for from this blog: a group of wonderfully supportive friends, an internship, a job, and most importantly of all, happiness. I truly see myself blogging until a ripe old age; no one will care about what I have to say at that point, but that's perfectly fine with me. That's not why I started blogging anyway.

Image Source: Photo1, 2

February 1, 2015


So I tried something new this year: videography! When my YouTuber friend, More Merrick, asked if I would be interested in shooting some footage for his latest fashion video, I was hesitant. I had absolutely zero film experience and never considered myself all that competent with a camera. But eager to learn new skills and explore other creative avenues, I agreed.

We shot two outfits over the span of two hours, but let me tell you, that time flew by! Even though the first outfit was done outside in below-zero weather, I was so preoccupied with getting a good shot I barely noticed the chill. Despite my lack of videography experience, I went in trusting my instincts. I drew on my years of exposure to fashion photography and the fact I occasionally snap photos for my blog's Facebook page to help me envision how a subject should be placed within a frame. I've always had a vividly imaginative mind, but have never been able to translate my fantastical visions into any other medium besides words. Figuring out how to manifest the sparkling images in my mind into actual video footage would be my greatest challenge. Yet even if all else failed, I knew I could at least depend on my love for fashion to capture the clothing in its best light.

Check out what became of my first-time efforts in the finished video below (I shot the first and fourth outfits):

Huge thanks to Merrick for working his editing magic to hide the flaws in my footage!  I always knew filming was a task that required considerable skill, and that day of shooting did not prove me wrong. I struggled most with getting smooth shots and ensuring the camera was always in focus. Although my myriad of flaws do not escape me while watching the finished product, I had so much fun that day I come away more inspired than discouraged.

Lately, I've found myself expanding beyond fashion and learning to appreciate other forms of art. It has only been in recent years that I have begun to really love the art of film-making and acting (so much so I even considered writing film reviews at one point). I've also gained a newfound enjoyment of visual art, theatre, orchestra, and dance. At first I felt as if I were betraying my fashion roots by electing to watch a movie over the latest runway show, but then I realized I was simply complementing my deep appreciation for talent and skill. At the heart of it all, no matter what form it takes, I adore seeing people who are good at - and passionate about - what they do. Don't worry; fashion will always be my first (and forever) love.  But with this new mindset, I see my fun little venture into videography as a natural extension of my passion for fashion and creativity. Just like the effect of putting on a fantastic outfit, everytime I yelled "action!", I was transported to a heightened reality away from the drudgery of my surroundings. In those couple of seconds the camera was on, my world existed within the frame - and there was something satisfying about that.

Nevertheless, my videography skills still need a lot of work. I've made a number of mental notes for next time I film. There's a next time, you ask? Stay tuned...

Image Source: Ask