2.28.2011

Talking about a revolution ... finding inspiration in human nature ...


I was so busy last week at work I had no time to write... What a crazy week it has been. In the Middle East the world has exploded, in China the word "today" was censored and in Europe London and Milan Fashion weeks have given way to Paris.  As much as I want to talk about the latter there is something that inspires more than art or fashion or design and that is human nature itself.

We can be compassionate and ignorant at the same time, we can be selfish and completely absorbed in our little world but there are times when we can reach a tipping point where we leave the "me", and become "us".

There is nothing more powerful than a united consciousness; nothing that unites more than suffering or discontent. Whilst happiness can divide and breed jealousy it is only when suffering that we are truly united. How long can oppression last? years, decades, centuries? It is best to leave this to the scholars, but sometimes all it takes is a Facebook group, a popular blog, a place where a thought becomes material, where that thought leads to an action that through the momentum of ideas and inspiration takes on a life of its own and in it's most extreme and violently beautiful form leads to a popular uprising like the revolution in Egypt.

Who knows what is going to happen next... what will happen in Libya after Col Gadaffi finally gives into the will of his people, will Yemen follow with its own revolution? Will these uprisings lead to peace or will anarchy take hold?

But today as much as I wanted to write about London fashion week and design and the fact that sunshine finally arrived in Hong Kong, nothing inspired me more than the young people in the middle east fighting for change, for recognition for freedom and for justice.


2.20.2011

Dreaming in colour Blue, Green and Yellow ...


I have been in party hibernation mode for a few months now. Don't get me wrong I love long dinners with friends with delicious food where there are lots of dishes on the table and everyone just shares, the wine is free flowing, there is a cool playlist in the background, the chatter gets louder, the guests more merry. Then there is the desert time, a cheese board, cakes or maybe some Mochi ice cream. Japanese themed dinners with sake or Western accompanied by wine, as long as you have great company good food and cool music you will have a great time.

Now the hibernation comes in once everyone finishes the dinner and starts deciding what to do afterwards. For the past few months I was always the one happily staying home. Cleaning up a little bit, listening to Adele or Radio Nova (a French radio with the most amazing music selection) while everyone would be going  partying. I think I was just tired of HK clubs, tired of the lack of really good music in the clubs, tired of crowds and really not interested in hangovers.

I found myself this Friday on my terrace at 11pm with a glass of wine and a computer reading blogs and BBC news. I had a flashlight moment and suddenly got an urge to go out, get drunk and see my girlfriends, I wanted to get pushed around in a club, elbow my way to the dance floor, spill a shot on my jeans, dance around silly with my girlfriends and meet some random club inhabitants, have a meaningless conversation or two and dance around a bit more :) I did all of that and that little bit more, in fact I went out not just Friday but also Saturday. As a result I have been a complete bum all day today baking pumpkin chocolate cookies (didn't go too well) taking photos of my new clothes and eating vegan chocolate cakes (from Life cafe).

So it's the photos of the clothes that I want to show you. Having been glued to Vogue.us, Garance Dore and Street Peeper blogs for the full duration of the NY fashion week I have become absolutely obsessed with colour. Now I rarely wear all black, favouring navy blue, and have been known to be a rather colourful person, but in winter as many of us do, I tend to adopt the grey, navy plus more shades of grey palette. So this Saturday I joined a very dear of friend of mine and her lovely sister in ZARA (my favourite  high street store in the world). There I went crazy buying every single colourful top, scarf and skirt I could find. I am a very professional efficient shopper given my very long experience in the field :) It takes me around 20mins to scan the whole store pick out what I like and buy it. (I rarely try things on as I deeply dislike queuing) I also have a short attention spam so shopping more than 30mins bores me.

Below are the results of my Saturday shopping escapade and the Sunday hangover boredom. Hope you like it!!! Let's bring some sunshine into our lives

Happy Sunday

tops, scarves, skirt and the coolest most comfortable boots all ZARA, bag Alex Mulberry (stained well worn and truly loved), Breton striped top CARDIGAN, clutch Bimba & Lola





2.16.2011

Ze New York Fashion week Autumn Winter 2011/12 ... Far away dreaming

Oh how I wish I was in NYC this week, but unfortunately I am in humid and cold HK and I am following every moment of the NY fashion week through the all mighty Internet. Garance Dore, Sartorialist , NY Times blog, Vogue.com the sources are limitless. Below is the street style, backstage style and front row and of course the collections that have caught my eye so far... Enjoy!


priceless :) taking the fur trend one step further
 Rodarte: loving the cut, the colour, the hairstyles and the chic simplicity... sometimes less is really more
Alexander Wang: The Golden Boy takes an 
ironic view on the apres ski and sportswear
LUXE
Rag & Bone - do urban cyber grunge
Altuzarra another Golden Boy of the NYC fashion scene has created the luxe version of grunge for next winter, it reminds me of a very well polished version of the clothes Mango used to make in the late 1990's and early 2000's before it got overtaken by Zara and lost it's touch

The slit makes a boring midi skirt ridiculously sexy 
and I love the boots and the coats 

Cannot wait for the 3.1 Phillip Lim YSL and Celine shows :)

2.15.2011

Moscow the land of the beautiful and the brave...



Living in Moscow is akin to taking part in a survival game.  Moscow is raw emotion: frustration, happiness, anger, love. The Muscovite must cope with the lack of sunshine, endless traffic jams, freezing temperatures and corruption - the frustrating type that turns one's daily routine into one big labyrinth - nothing is certain, nothing is constant and nothing is safe.

As a result human emotions become colder and more calculating, the abundance of beautiful young women and scarcity of rich old men debase human nature, the top restaurants become "meat markets" where young flesh has a price. Uncertainty in politics, uncertainty in tomorrow, even uncertainty in today... It's like walking on thin ice.

But despite or maybe because of all these difficulties, Muscovites are truly fascinating people, they are intelligent, extremely well read with an ability to live everyday like it's the last, they are passionate and loving. The corruption and bureaucracy that has penetrated every layer of society has made trust and respect the two most coveted traits and once the two are established friendships are forged forever.

Muscovites are also very funny and ironic, black humour is one of the best ways of dealing with the daily realities; they are real fighters in every sense of the word.  Russian hospitality is incredible where tables have enough food to feed a small army and the wine taps never stop. Russians are also particularly sentimental and  superstitious which further adds to their charms.

I have not been to Moscow in two years, and despite the traffic I really enjoyed my trip, loved seeing old friends (particularly the little sunshine miss M an old friend who I have not seen in half a decade), I loved walking the streets that I grew up on,  and loved eating (a little too much) OMG!!! the restaurants in Moscow are incredible even TGI Friday's has freshly squeezed juices and a good selection of teas (Russians love the tea almost as much as their hard liquor). Oh and Mario is the best Italian restaurant outside of Italy (although you could probably buy a ticket to Italy with the price of the meal) - the tuna and salmon carpaccio, home made wild boar pasta and the tiramisu were absolutely on a different level = heaven and food porn! Moscow is definitely not cheap, but the service and food more then make up for it.

I didn't have much time to do anything cultural but I did go to the one place I was dying to go to which was Dasha Zhukova's Garage Contemporary Art Gallery.  I have had a crush on her ever since she came up with those shiny wet effect leggings for her KOVA & T label in 2006 (www.kovaandt.com). Her style is incredible, her BF is one of the richest men in Russia and she has now opened one of the coolest exhibition spaces in Moscow...and she is BFF with all the London it-girls, she is like a Russian Alexa Chung but much hotter!

Garage the art space, is housed in a landmark of early 20th-century Russian architecture, a former bus garage originally designed in 1926, by the architect and artist Konstantin Melnikov and the structural engineer Vladimir Shukhov. “In my daydreams I picture the Leyland bus as a thoroughbred horse who has found his perfect spot in the stable.”  Konstantin Melnikov

The space has a very London feel, particularly the cafe, you almost feel like you are somewhere in the East End Ohhh and I loooooove the book store! I wish could buy every single book there and the apple crumble in the cafe was so yummy I almost ordered a second one.

Cannot wait to go back again!!!

Back in Hong Kong now and missing the snow just a little bit :)



Garage
 Dasha Zhukova 
Some of Moscow's most stylish girls at the moment
From Left to Right after the Celine show: Miroslava Duma, 
Elena Perminova, Anya Zirouva, and Vika Gazinskaya 
(from Altamira Blogspot, March 2010)
 Just outside my flat after it was snowing for 5 hours
 

2.10.2011

Cyprus the far away land of breakfast ice creams, smug cats and happy people ...


I have been so busy with work for the last 2 weeks that I have had no time for blogging!  Last week on Monday I met and interviewed Chailie Ho, an incredibly talented Hong Kong designer, on Thursday I spent a day hiking the hills of HK and doing yoga and on Friday I found myself on a last minute work trip to Cyprus and Moscow.. I am now typing up this post from the Moscow airport on my way back to Hong Kong. Ufffgh!

I have to say I love traveling alone, it gives me time to relax, browse magazine stands (oh no, and I thought I was in recovery) search the duty free make up departments (for one more unnecessary facial scrub), admire the MAC makeup counters and their funky staff. Flying allows me to switch off my phone and arrange my mind and just be in my own space. Those of us living in a big city are used to being surrounded by thousands of people rushing somewhere in their protective cocoons, with stress and tension filling the air. So the peacefulness of flying is bliss.

Anyway so back to stop number 1: Cyprus ... 
Last Saturday morning I was woken up at 4am with a phone call from my lovely husband who forgot the time difference and unable to sleep I  spent the next 3 hours hours contemplating life and watching the sun rise. There was something absolutely beautiful and primal in the star studded sky of this part of the world. I thought of the great Greek empire that rose and fell, of the joys of travel, of the twisted surprises of life and the unrest happening in Egypt and was left spellbound by the sunrise that was slowly lighting up the sky. This light reminded me of all the unknows that this new day will bring, the new acquaintances, new-stories and the new tastes and smells. The world seemed so still for that sunrise hour so ancient yet so new, unpredictable and full of unknown.

Having devoured the whole breakfast buffet  -  I love hotel breakfasts, I just have to try everything that's there, even the ice cream! - I  ventured out to explore the city.

There is a promenade along the sea where all the inhabitants of Cyprus seem to go jogging. This morning was incredible: 16 degrees, sunny, clear blue skies, the famous stray but very well fed and consequently smug looking Cypriot cats sitting on the side of the payment enjoying the warm day. I joined the happy joggers and drew a few surprised stars (I didn't have any trainers so was sporting a combo of my 'trainer like' 10cm Zara wedges, a fur waistcoat  + camera hanging on the side... a strange morning walk outfit ;)

Limassol is a city of very old cobbled streets and endless souvenir shops - with every shopkeeper telling you their life story and always asking you to tell them yours. It is a city where the new is intertwined with the old,  a place where a misplaced Starbucks is followed by a charming old coffee shop. Greeks are like toned-down Italians, very charming, talkative, happy and relaxed + they thankfully lack the overpowering charms one encounters on the street of Naples.

I will definitely return to the city where I fell in love with a beautiful 15th century castle, found an incredible leather store where I bought vintage looking white brogues for 25 euros (perfect for summer) and made friends with every taxi driver (my favourite was called Adonis ... what a name!) and shop keeper - who all invited me to come back again!

P.S. One last word goes to the Greek olives - yummy juicy absolutely delicious I could devour jars an jars of them any time of the day...

Breakfast Ice cream best invention ever