Cannot believe it's already Wednesday and it's only my first post for the week. Friday I am going to Moscow for Chinese New Years, I am thinking of bringing my two favourite Lunar New Year treats glutinous Rice cake (年糕 nian gao) and a Taro cake (芋头糕 ) for my parents to try, I wonder if they would like them (and if I will have any problems of taking them through customs).

As for the weekend: Saturday involved - a hike with an amazing creative soul and an incredible cook, my Colombian amor Paola, the designer behind Tangram, a visit to a friend’s flat that houses a stunning collection of vintage designs, mostly from Japan (check them out on the Standard Vintage website), an early night in after a homemade dinner and a new TV series Sherlock. Sunday included a morning  run with the doggies (you have to see a running sausage dog and you will be guaranteed a smile for the rest of the day),  followed by nachos, burritos  and yuzu tea at Café Causette, and for dessert  apfelstrudel from cafe LOISL, that I ate, while sitting on a small wooden terrace in a rocking chair and looking at the rain. 

As I listened to the rain softly falling on the ground I couldn't help but think about substance.

Substance. What is substance for you? In a world of superficial value systems, where looks and money seem to rule far too many people, reality loses it's bearings, old values are broken and quick prosperity seems to equal ultimate happiness. The substance of living becomes diluted. Real creativity is under-appreciated  and talent is hard to come by.
What is the real meaning of design, why do we create? What is branding? A well defined packaging that appeals to our sense of aesthetics, a tool for the creation of desire, our definition of cool, or is it an expression of real creativity. 
Substance has a lot of special meanings for me: it is about determination and delivery (as opposed to an empty promise), it is about depth and understanding, it is also the name of a  multi-disciplinary creative agency conceived in its current form by my husband and our best friend Maxime Dautresme in December 2010. 
The terrace where I was eating my strudel this Sunday belongs to Substance and is located on a quiet alleyway overlooking the low rises of Sheung Wan.  A year ago this was an empty space with nothing but a few cockroaches, a year later Substance is an up-and-coming agency, with 10 employees, multiple projects under their belt, plus a RED Dot award for the design of Madame Sixty Ate and they have no intention on stopping here. Watching the birth of a new business with all it's ups and downs, hard work and excitement in such a short space has been a real miracle and a wake up call for me. Changing slightly Thomas Edison's words "The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense talent."  I am really proud of what the boys have achieved in such a short period of time and I hope browsing through these photos of the awesome office and their website (an updated website in English will be up and running shortly) will inspire you to be more creative. To me they are a daily source of inspiration and motivation!

Outfit: recycling the oldies 3 year old YSL Muse bag, 1 year ZARA wedge boots, ZARA parka from 2 years, H&M shorts that are slightly ripped after just half a year (talking about quality), Comptoir Des Cotonniers t-shirt, Lanvin x H&M for Men cardigan   (the only part of the collection I actually liked was the men's, the girls stuff had too many ruffles for my taste)

P.S. Recently  I discovered a new young Singaporean brand that I cannot wait to tell you all about in the next post.  Happy Wednesday :)


  1. Ah you're writing is exquisite dudles, you have to write a book! Substance looks and sounds amazing, love the creativity xx ps love the trench coat

  2. Oh the studio is finally done! The boys look super chill just sitting there (working?).

    I love this outfit (of course). You look like a super spy about to throw off her hood and make a mad dash to go kill a crime boss (yes I'm making up background stories for each of your outfits now)

    Have fun in Moscow- it's so great that CNY is so close to Christmas this year!

  3. cool looking studio made by cool looking dudes. The resto website is very innovative and fun to navigate! it's always inspiring to see something flourish :)
    on a vainer note: I like the outfit! great mix of blacks and what a fab parka for the rainy weather~ (agree with Sam; very incognito-spy-chic)
    my life right now is lacking in the substance dept., and I realize that this most likely explains those moments where I feel utterly vapid and dissatisfied for no reason. It's one of those things that must be worked on til one's dying day, a ceaseless project that's worth every ounce of effort. semi counter-productive to having a "style blog," but whatevssss! i like this post :)
    ps. safe travels! And Happy Lunar New Year!

  4. To me substance is believing in what you do and putting 100% of yourself out there with no compromise. It must be so exciting to see a creative business grow, I really like the design they did for Madam Sixty Ate. You must be so proud.

  5. Good word substance. I'm going to ponder it. Have a great time in Moscow - a place I'd dearly love to visit. Good luck with getting all those treats through customs. Would be such a shame to leave them behind.

  6. How exciting for your beau! These pics look great.

    ~ Clare x

  7. Nice pics!


  8. Oh wow, I hope you were able to take nian gao and taro cake to your parents (I'm sure they're love to try them and they're so tasty!)...although customs can sometimes be very stern-faced about perishable food. Your description of substance is interesting to read and that's great that Substance has been so successful– I liked flicking through their website and am looking forward to seeing the updated version. Have a safe flight to Moscow and I hope that you have a wonderful Chinese New Year! xx

  9. very very excited about substance!

  10. you are so lovely and that outfit is awesome! i absolutely loved this post on substance - it has my creative juices flowing on this otherwise ho-hum monday morning! i wish i could work there :D