Saturday, October 31, 2009

Safari Style - the real deal, dude

jean's travel pics - sri lanka elephant safari

I had a great time in Sri Lanka.
Every day was packed with activities and sightseeing in spectacular historic sites.
i've just started a new blog for travel bloggings and will be posting my travel pics there.
here i am with travel buddies pow and kat all kitted out in our safari hats, ready to go elephant safari'ing.
well, ya'll know Safari Style is in for spring 2010, right?

now, if i could only figure out how i can look like this on the next safari........

Saturday, October 24, 2009

jean is on vacation. back on 30th October

jean's travel pics: pow in hanoi

well, i'm packed and all ready for my adventure in exotic Sri Lanka. travelling by budget no-frills airline Air Asia and with a small tour group. there are 10 of us.
having globetrotted since my teens, i now know better and always travel light. there's nothing more stressful than wandering around strange airports, lugging around a lot of stuff i don't use.

for anything more than a week, i usually pack for 5 days. i don't pack consumables which can be purchased at the destination. a couple of dollars for mosquito repellent is small change, compared to the cost of air-tickets and hotel. and excess baggage charges.

Sri Lanka is 6 days, 5 nights.
weather is hot. 25 - 30 degress celsius. and humid.

very strenous sightseeing all the way and all but one night are overnight stops.
that means 4 hotels in 6 days. no time to send stuff to the laundry so more tops needed.

i have 2 bags: 1 check in with wheels, and a backpack.
passport and tickets goes into the bum bag for easy access.
photocopies of passport goes into the backpack and one set is kept at home.

here's my capsule:

in the check-in:
2 pairs jeans; 1 skirt, 6 t-shirts, 2 which can be dressed up if needed; scrunchable canvas hat, 1 pair spare sandals. 1 cotton "gym" pants and t-shirt for sleeping.

in the backpack:
jumper, shawl, socks
air asia's no-frills = no blankets.

i'll be travelling in jeans, t-shirt, sandals.

see you all on the 30th October!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Work in Progress - Shirley's Ball Gown (2)

This is part 2 of this ballgown in progress.
pics for part 1 can be seen here

if i've not been my usual prolific blogging self, it's because of sleepless nights beavering away on the gown which is for a ball on the 31st, and which meant i had to complete it by saturday.

because, come sunday, i'll be flying west to eat lobsters and admire gemstones in sri lanka for 5 days. not that i've done that before......this will be my first trip to sri lanka and i'm really looking forward to the break. hope i can find some nice indian cottons and sari fabrics. And a nice beach.

spent 3 days experimenting on the draping for the asymmetric neckline on the gown to get the effect i wanted.

this is version 6, at least. i really liked version 5 which had numerous overlapping folds/pleats, done on the bias, making the tulle look like a different, textured fabric!

but it had less transparency.

i wasn't sure if shirley would like it. so i reduced the folds and ended up with this version.

today was the 1st and only fitting, since i was running short of time and still had tons to do.
being the good sport that shirley is, she tried on the gown sans side seams, side godets, lace on the bodice, zip and lining. i pinned her in and thankfully the body of the gown fit, and i didn't injure anyone with the super-sharp japanese pins. the bottom of the neckline V was a bit slack and needed some adjustments. pulling the excess fabric down 1 cm resolved the issue. 

she really liked the neckline and the diagonal folds/pleats. of course i had to tell her about the previous version and guess what? she liked that even better, especially when i did a little demo with a bit of tulle.
there was no way i can make the change and finish the gown by saturday.

after some discussion, we both agreed the gown will not be worn for the tatler ball on the 31st but for the prestige ball 2nd week november. this is cool as i really wanted to do version 5.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spring 2010 Trend - Style - Femme Fatale

images from

The femme fatale is making a comeback led by John Galliano at Christian Dior.

Galliano is worth watching for two reasons: a. he is said to be the models' favorite designer, and we all know fashionista's watch what models are wearing;  b. he tends to be a trendsetter for other designers.
last season, he shows the boudoir look and voila! this season underwear is everywhere.

The femme fatale had always existed .......the original femme fatale was mother-of-all-mankind, eve from the bible, who caused the downfall of not just one man, but everybody. Lucrezia Borgia, poisoner extraordinaire from the italian renaissance period and Mata Hari, a dutch exotic dancer turned spy during the 1st world war were femme fatale's from the archives of history.

But it was Hollywood who really made the femme fatale famous in the 30's and 40's, with stars like Lauren Bacall, Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich.

Must-have's for budding femme fatale's are the smoldering eyes and lipstick red lips, parted ever so slightly. Helpful items would be the Veronica Lake hair-do, preferably covering one eye and the killer heels. You can be a blonde or redhead, no rules here, but being brunette definitely adds to the dark mystery.

Get some dress to kill ideas in the pics above.

MFDC - Shoe Design Competition 2010

image from

added on 2nd Dec 2009: for other shoe design competitions and fashion design competitions, please search under LABELS (right) or click HERE 

The Malaysian Footwear Design Competion (MFDC) deadline has been extended to the end of the month, so there's still time to finish up your designs and illustrations. Or prepare another submission!
The competition is open to Malaysians.

We are allowed to submit 3 entries in each category. you can get the entry form from
40% of points awarded is for innovation and creativity whereas only 10% is awarded for practicality.
Hint, hint.........they are looking for something different from the run of mill stuff.

take a look at the Mojito shoe in the pic above and  here to get some inspiration.
or go to the dezeen blog and read about the design

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Work in Progress - Shirley's Ball Gown (1)

pic 2: front bodice and skirt; back bodice and skirt; added black tulle skirt to back

I'm halfway through sewing this gown and it's begining to look quite decadent!

there are 3 layers and lining to be sewn
layer 1 = taffeta in acid yellow.
layer 2 = black tulle, sewn together with layer 1 as one piece.
layer 3 = black tulle for the skirt , black lace for the bodice and black tulle for the draped shoulder/dropped sleeve.
lining is habutai silk in matching yellow. the lining will be a princess cut A-line.
there's also a wrap around sash in black tulle.....2 pieces which i will sew to side seams.

pics above show
1. front bodice and skirt pieces (layers 1 and 2) pinned to mandy, the M-size dress form.
2. back bodice and skirt pieces (layers 1 and 2)
3. added layer 3 (black tulle) to back skirt!
pics below:
1st pic: fabrics used.
2nd pic shows skirt and godet pieces pinned on taffeta and about to be cut.
i used 6.5 metres of taffeta 54" and 13 metres of tulle!

counted 62 separate pieces altogether. that's a lot of sewing.

no wonder this feels like a marathon!

pic 1: fabric - black beaded lace, black tulle, acid yellow taffeta; skirt pieces pinned on taffeta

more pics soon........

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall 2009 - Trench Coats

images from

The trench is perfect for those in-between weathers.

For those of us in the tropics, it's the ideal choice for travelling to cooler climes......light enough to carry on the plane, and less bulk in the luggage if you choose to pack it. layer with sweaters and wrap a scarf to keep the chill out. Three-quarter length is most versatile and looks great worn with separates/pants.

I like Bottega Veneta's classic trench in leather. It looks so chic and takes you right through winter too. Yves Saint Laurent's quilted version is perfect for dressier occasions and evenings.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Designer: Yohji Yamamoto

image from

Yohji Yamamoto is considered one of the most creative minds in fashion.
His clothing has an austere, minimalist, unstructured, avant-garde style and his cutting edge designs often uses asymmetry, drapery and texture plays in somber colours especially black.

Seemingly anti-fashion, Yamamoto’s designs actually reflect the Japanese philosophy that irregularity is closer to nature and beauty is to be found in the textures of fabric rather than added embellishments. Yamamoto has largely eschewed prevailing fashion trends for timelessness and functionality.

He graduated from Keio University, Tokyo with a law degree in 1966 and completed his studies in fashion design at Bunka Fashion College in 1969. His flagship line, Y’s was started in Tokyo in the 70’s.

In 1982, Yamamoto made his international debut in Paris with Yohji Yamamoto for women. This was followed by the launch of Yohji Yamamoto pour Homme in 1984. Yamamoto has stores in Tokyo, Paris, London and New York.

His most famous collaboration was with Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garcons in the 80’s.

Right after the showing of his Spring 2010 collection in October 2009, Yohji Yamamoto Inc. filed for bankruptcy, a victim of deteriorating sales caused by the global economic downturn.

Yohji Yamamoto will continue to design for Y3 the sportwear line, a hugely successful collaboration with Adidas.

Awards Received:

Yamamoto has received numerous awards, including Fashion Editors Club (FEC) Award Tokyo (1982, 1991, 1997), Mainichi Fashion Award (1986, 1994), Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Master of Design (1999).

He is the only Japanese designer to receive the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (1994).

In 2004, he was awarded the Japanese Medal of Honour.
In 2005, he received the French National Order of Merit.
In 2006, he was made an Honorary Royal Designer for Industry from the Royal Society of Arts.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Mojito

image from

Believe it or not, this is a shoe.

British architect Julian Hakes has designed a shoe of one continuous piece that wraps around the foot giving support to the heel and ball of the foot.

The shoe is called the ‘Mojito’ as it resembles a twist of lime skin.

Judging from the buzz on the dezeen blog, there's quite a lot of excitement over this breakthrough design and they are in the process of readying some prototypes.

  read more about julian's design process and thoughts here

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Blocking with Patterns

images from

Colour blocking was shown on the runways for fall 2009. For Spring 2010, blocking is taken one step further with pattern combinations.

3.1 Philip Lim showed a geometric/plain combination. BCBG Max Azria and Thakoon used blocking to create asymmetry. 

Tuleh matched dots of different colours against a black background for a 1950's look.

At Marchesa, lace was combined with sheer to create a distinctive evening look.

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Asymmetry

images from

Asymmetry continues to be popular into Spring 2010. This season asymmetry extends to the hemlines and one shoulder styles are fashionable for evening wear.

My favorite asymmetric evening gown has to be Marchesa's delectable shocking pink......perfect for a red-carpet occasion.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Knits

images from

Bring out those knitting needles and by spring you may have some knitwear right on the trend.
Go for a preppy look like Hermes and Tommy Hilfiger, or make a his and hers set like Chanel. Or go ethnic like Issey Miyake.

Among my favorites: the sweater dress from Jaeger's collection seen in the pic above.

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Back to Nature

images from

Designers went back to nature and organic materials.

Ralph Lauren's prairie collection showed denims, workmen's shirts and small floral prints. At Botega Veneta, fresh white dresses were worn with woven espadrilles and bags made of leather woven to resemble straw.

Alabama Chanin's collection is made with organic and re-cycled materials, and hand-crafted by local artisans in Alabama.

Wunderkind's red toile de jouy dress could have been worn by a 17th century milkmaid.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Beach

images from

Designers head for Malibu, the Caribbean and Mediterranean for spring 2010. Boys by Band of Outsiders's jacket has a nautical feel, Peter Som went retro and Blumarine's tie-dyes were reminiscent of the 70's. Emilio Pucci's prints reflect the underwater world and Alexander McQueen's collection was inspired by the lost city of Atlantis.

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Retro 70's

images by

The 70's /Boho look continue to influence designers. Blumarine included a collection of hippie-inspired tie-dyes in the latest trend colours.Reem Acra showed a draped evening caftan.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Spring 2010 - Alabama Chanin - sustainable, organic fashion

images from

Amidst all the gloomy news about the effects of the global economic crisis on the fashion trade, it was really heartening to see Alabama Chanin making a show on the runways with her collection of sustainable, organic clothing made from cotton grown in the US and hand-crafted by artisans who live and work around Florence, Alabama.

I visited the Alabama Chanin website and they have a very nice collection of clothing, including bridal wear and items for the home. They also run Studio Weekend Workshops for guests.

We've always had small workshops selling fringe fashion....indie and goth, but it would be nice to know that this can be taken to a commercial level globally.

Yohji Yamamoto files for bankruptcy protection

images from

I was really sad to read that Yohji Yamamoto is the latest of the fashion houses to file for bankruptcy protection with debts of $67 million.

According to the New York Times, the designer will continue to operate under Japan’s corporate rehabilitation law, and will continue his work as a designer.

Yohji Yamamoto was one of the forerunners of the Minimalist movement in the 80's which re-defined fashion.

read the full article from the New York Times here

Friday, October 9, 2009

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Goth

images from

With Halloween around the corner, fashion forward folks among us may want to look to Spring trends for Goth looks ideas.

I'm a secret goth fan so i'm pleased with the choices coming in spring. my favorites include Yohji Yamamoto. As always, once you eliminate the styling props (ghostly face and uncontrollably insane hair in this case), his clothes translate into timeless wearables with an edge. Love those cool fingerless gloves!

Galliano's sheer 30's victoriana is perfect for dress-up occasions.

Spring 2010 Style - Suits

images from

Spring's in-between weather is perfect for showing off those suits. For 2010, we have a lot of choices from the runways. Chanel style is in, not that it's ever gone out of fashion. But this season, the two piece with short jacket has returned to the spotlight.

Armani's classic plaid jacket, seen above second from right, is up to the minute for those who prefer longer lengths.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Spring 2010 Chanel Suit

image from

Suits are a key trend for spring 2010 and Chanel has revived and updated their classic black & white Chanel suit.
The sihouette is feminine, another key spring 2010 trend.
Wear it with loads of pearls and Chanel No. 5.

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Minimalism

images from

Perhaps it's spring's call to de-clutter, or an urge for something simpler after the excesses of the pre-recession years. There is a growing trend for minimalism on the catwalks.  Unlike the avant garde styles we've come to expect, this season's minimalists are very stylish and wearable.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Urban Warrior

images from

Fall 2009's Bikers morphs into Spring's Urban Warriors.
Military details -  metal buttons, zips, shoulder epaulets, double-breasted jackets and coats - define this look.
Max Mara's version is perfectly suited for corporate warfare over the boardroom table.

Just in time for Halloween: Death becomes Her

image from

I really liked Viktor & Rolf's collection. It's original, creative and mostly wearable.
But someone let the boys loose with the hedge-trimmers and  they've done some topiary on the tulle.

This gown triggered memories of Goldie and Meryl in "Death becomes Her".
perhaps it's the red........

If you want to look at Sydney Opera House, Angel's Wing and David Copperfield's assistant cut in half, click HERE

Monday, October 5, 2009

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Boudoir/Lingerie

images from

The boudoir look is given a prairie flavour at D&G for Spring 2010. There is a distinctive noir influence at Christian Dior and in Oscar de la Renta's black lace. Tuleh showed fresh white as bridal wear.

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Ethnic/Tribal

images from

Tribals for Spring 2010 are dressed up with beading, embroidery, fringing and other embellishments.
I like Issey Miyake's comfy looking loose knit with prints and Oscar de la Renta's beaded tribal evening.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Draping

images from

Draping continues to be popular, I suspect because so many women look good in draped garments. Draping works to give curves while hiding the bits you don't want anyone to know about.

For Spring 2010, look for draping in day and eveningwear.

My favorite? Vivienne Westwood's draped dress with wraparound waist. It's the 3rd pic from the left above.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Triumph Inspiration Awards 2009 - International Winners

Winner of the Triumph Inspiration Awards 2009 is James Nolan from Great Britain.

His design "Odette and Odile" explores the concept of metamorphosis and uses the story of Swan Lake as his icon.

2nd: Katinka Poole from Australia. Katinka's design reflects the distinctive skyline of Sydney Opera House.

3rd: Shani Elkin from Israel. Shani's inspiration is Jerusalem and her designs incorporates the Hebrew and Arabic calligaphic prints of Jerusalem.

Congratulations to James, Katinka and Shani.

here's the link to view all the finalists and winners:

Catching up on Classes and Hunting for the next Jimmy Choo

Resumed classes at SML last Friday.
Friday is Fashion Design with Jasmi.
I have loads of catching up to do, as i had missed 2 weeks of classes due to all the stuff that's going on with my family. I shan't bore you with the details but suffice to say if both parents come from families of 10 with an average of 3 kids on mum's side and 5 kids on dad's side, something's bound to be happening at any point in time. Last month was especially eventful. Some good, some bad. But last month was mainly bad.
Besides catching up on the lessons for fashion illustration, i need to make a start on the design project. Step 1 is to decide on the inspiration for my collection. I couldn't come up with anything specific on the spot, so Jasmi said to think about it over the weekend and collect images and other items for my journal.
Renown Malaysian designer, Bill Keith popped in to remind everyone to submit their entries for the shoe design competition. Bill co-ordinates the annual Malaysian Footwear Design Competition sponsored by the various footwear associations in Malaysia. The winner will go on to compete in the international competition.
"They are looking for the next Jimmy Choo." said Bill.
Jimmy Choo is Malaysian, which gives the rest of us a smidgen of hope for fame and fortune on the international fashion stage.
During my absence, I had missed the news about the competition. Jasmi said to try and submit an initial draft by next Wed anyway.
"I can't draw feet yet." I said.

That's a problem isn't it, if you are going to design shoes.
"Don't worry, I'll help you. You just come up with a few rough sketches and images to illustrate your concept." said Jasmi.

Spring 2010 Trends - Style - Body Conscious

images from

I'll have to make a note to include diet and exercise in my New Year resolutions list.
I'll need it after gorging myself at Christmas.
Spring brings show-off-your-legs, body-skimming dresses.
My favorites were in pastels, nudes, black and white.

Spring 2010 Trends - Style: Sheer Lightness

images from

Time to lighten up for Spring 2010.

I like Jason Wu's printed sheers and Tracy Reese's black on white with large dots.
At Marchesa, spring brides were cotton-wrapped with feather-light layers of sheers and shimmer

Friday, October 2, 2009

Spring 2010 Trends - Style: Desert, Savannah

images from

In Spring 2010, designers go on exploration to the desert and the African savannah.
Colours are sand-washed......beiges, greys and khaki's.

Spring 2010 Trends - Style: Geometrics

images from

Designers continue to develop the Geometric theme in Spring 2010. Geometric shapes flowed through 3.1 Philip Lim's collection. Derek Lam's collection included strong structural silhouettes. At BCBG, Max Azria used colour blocking and piping to highlight to highlight asymmetric geometric shapes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Spring 2010 Trends - Prints & Motifs - Tribal (5)

images from

The ethnic look is back and this season, designers were inspired by the tribes of Africa.
Marc by Marc Jacobs' tribals were in modern brights and Monique Lhuillier's collection had a strong masai influence. I like Max Azria for Hervé Léger's beaded version.

Spring 2010 Trends - Prints & Motifs - Stripes (4)

images from

Classic pinstripes in the Fall 2009 collections gave us a hint of this trend. 

In line with his 1930's theme, Ralph Lauren showed a blue pinstriped 3-piece banker suit accessorized with men's tie and hankie. Chris Benz's version was bright and cheery. Tommy Hilfiger and Badgley Mischka's collections featured nautical themes.