>> I'm finding myself to be a sucker for little tidbits of designer 'treats' that whilst aren't extortionate in the scheme of things are sort of extravagant when measured up against their itty bitti-ness.  Can't afford the Prada PVC princess coat?  I'll be getting the thick nubbly socks.  Unlikely that those Miu Miu 2-part flares are coming home with me so I'll get the shirt cuffs instead (deciding between wool or leather…).  It's a sad trap that accountants at designer labels will be laughing about whilst rubbing their hands together in $$$-eyed glee.  In my head though, I'd like to think that there's a 'schusszzzh'* factor to these pieces.  I can't quite spell that word properly to make it sound onomatopoeically correct.  Perhaps you have your own version of saying it.  Example of usage?  "I'm wearing my Fannie Schiavoni chain mail crop top to schusszzzh up an outfit."  I feel like I need to insert an MP3 soundbite here just to demonstrate what I'm saying.  Too bad the sound of my recorded voice drives me to moments of insanity. 

Carven's silk bib with an inbuilt Peter Pan collar is one such designer spun-off schusszzzh-piece.  You're probably not hearing me yet but I tells ya, it's only a matter of time before Carven fan girls of the Alexa Chung-following ilk will be rising up to the match the numbers of Alexander Wang's "We're oh-so-rad…" die hard addicts.  Don't ask me why but in my head, I have fictional style battle scenes playing out as a recurring vision.  Anyhow, in anticipation, I'm willingly committing myself to becoming said fan girl (errrm… minus the Chung-following bit…) as I bought my first bit of Carven (colette also has it too…) which also neatly forms a triangle with two other collar/yoke acquisitions – one from COS (which I THINK is sold out now…) and a vintage one that I bought from Old Touch in Stockholm.  I'm a big fan of anything that is a lightweight packing device and will sort of change-up an outfit in a subtle way and whilst no person who is vaguely observant of clothes will think you've gone and changed an entire outfit, I do like the way they somehow neaten up an outfit in the only way that the sight of a neatly pressed shirt collar does. 

So… points to take away…

I'm a nut job for itty bitty designer treats that in my head represent a paragon of affordability…

Carven-ites and Wang-ites will do battle in 2011…

Collars are neat… and might fool really, really unobservant people into thinking you have many clothes…

**EDIT** So apparently there is an Urban Dictionary entry but I don't like their spelling of it 'zhuzh'.  I'm sticking with my made-up version…


(Carven bib with Ann Sofie Back tweed ripped top, Weekday x Diana Orving leggings/skirt, Monki belt, Carin Wester shoes)


(COS shirt yoke with Whistles thunderbolts trousers, H&M x Lanvin dress tucked in, vintage scarf, Suno x Loeffler Randall wedges)



(Vintage embroidered bib with Manoush coat, vintage cashmere jumper, shorts from Hong Kong, Shape Shiftr mustard trousers, vintage shoes)

P.S. Note the different weather scenarios… and the crap snow that doesn't settle that we get in London in the last few pics…

Samplin’ Away


>> It's sample sale madness this weekend and I'm unfortunately not going to be here to revel in all the glorious messiness.  Still, given a choice between scoffing my face with Tim Ho Wan's amazing barbecue pork buns and lunging for gifts in a deluxe claw machine at Lane Crawford's XMas celebratory bonanza on a four day jaunt in Hong Kong or riffling through piles of EVERYTHING it seems in snowy London…hmmm… actually, that still is a toughie.  Nay, I'm not going to be indecisive about it.  Hong Kong it is.  Therefore, run readers towards those designer studios in deep dark East London and get merry and high on bargains…




(NOTE: Flyer is incorrect – there will be NO Carven at the sale – *BLUB BLUB*)

3 Dec Sample Sale


Regent studios christmas 2010 (9th draft final) colour

Sample sale


NOTE AGAIN: The Peter Jensen sale is NEXT weekend – read dates carefully!





>> Aaages ago, fellow Hong Kong-er Penter Yip sent me an email about his idea for a sketchbook for fashion design students, compiling a useful compendium of information as well as a moleskin-esque pages that had templates laid out ready for sketching.  I think I may have shot back a somewhat skeptical email questioning whether there was the need for a tempated sketchbook.  I pooped over this entrepeneur's idea and now I'm eating my rotten words, pungent with the stench of stinky tofu. 

The resulting product Fashionary is now in its second revised edition with rave reviews a-plenty and demonstrating that there is in fact a need for the product.  Steve bought one for me and one for himself (they come in men and women's editions) from new London cutsey/gifty store 3939 in Clerkenwell to encourage any creative juice spillage onto its pages.  Whilst the bulk of the pages with dummy templates caters specifically to fashion students and designers, it's the front section of Fashionary that surprisingly throws up a good amount of information that any fashion enthusiast/blogger/journo will appreciate such as a guide to pocket shapes/styles, illustrated seams and stitches, size charts, fashion week calendars and brand/label indexes.  It's not wholly comprehensive but there's enough information to feed the brain some general fashion fodder that it sometimes needs – such as knowing the difference between an Imperial collar and a Mandarin one or knowing that the American, Eureopean and Japanese standards for care labelling.  I may not fill the pages with anything other than normal Moleskin crap such as lists for Waitrose shopping or books-to-borrow but I definitely appreciate some of Fashionary's practical info that will see me peppering posts more fruity fashion language. 







Delving into Pockets


Somebody sent me an MA dissertation interview with the question "How long do you think the minimalism trend will last?".  I was sort of aghast really – is a whole design movement/aesthetic really a "trend" that can be levelled with say lampshade skirts or banana prints?  You can probably guess my answer to the question, and I feel much the same way about utility/work-wear inspired threads – that these design aesthetics must somehow exist ALL the time in some format or another and not just pass by fleetingly because of the profound way they have cornerstoned clothing design.  Particularly for workwear-inspired clothes, these are afterall threads that work dilligently, giving you a lot of companionship for your hard-earned buck with their pockets, buckles, simple cuts, breathable fabrics and neutral colours/shades.  Likewise, in menswear, workwear is a not a trend but a way of clothing being, suited to the slower pace of men's shopping patterns – i.e. wearing things to death and refusing to buy anything new until it is literally falling apart. 

Eudon Choi may have once designed a powder pink trench (that I still wear to death…) but its candy floss shade disguises a whole host of precise detailing that is a big pointer to his aesthetic for the last two seasons that consists of a luxurious take on utility wear, borrowing principles from menswear but amping it all up so that it looks interesting enough to the greedy feminine eye.  From the S/S 11 collection, it was this 'Sigrid' jacket with its nude mesh panels, various pockets (a total of five on one jacket) as well as the varying shades of slightly military-inspired tinged beige, olive and grey in garbadine and cotton jersey that made me want to delve into Choi's pocket-laden collection…

Sigrid jacket



… and so into the sketchbooks I went, finding that above all, it was the "universal and democratic appeal of cotton' that dominated his findings and the resulting collection.  Eudon's accumulated inspiration imagery spans from WWII fighter pilot suits to factory workwear and overalls to 1920s tennis outfts with the emphasis on 'industry' and 'uniformity' and a bygone era of clothing that were designed for a functional purpose without necessarily incorporating decorative/superfluous details.  I'm intrigued by the cited vintage emporium that he visits on Old Kent Road which sells vintage workwear and uniforms where he gets a lot of inspiration from.  The trick for Eudon has been to extract the aesthetic beautfy from these images as well as the original source garments and whilst there's been a tendancy for like-for-like repro of these garments, especially seen in few menswear 'workwear' brands, in womenswear, that method just wouldn't wash…









… which brings us onto the subsequent and resulting collection.  The palette extends itself so that colours that may not have featured on say a turn of the century factory uniform has its place here with shades like a dark plummy purple, a dusky pink or an icy blue. 




Using subtle elements of Eudon's source imagery/pieces means details such as the 'suggestion' of an apron or just the transplant of a pocket on a skirt is all the detailing needed to support his theme…





Exaggerating certain elements such as adding more pockets, pumping volume into the sleeves, playing with lengths, pushes pieces like Eudon's take on the hunting/poacher's jacket or a fisherman's vest beyond being just a simple replica.




The Sigrid jacket at the top of this post will hopefully be joining the pink trenchcoat come January to form a collective onslaught of Eudon Choi outerwearand the proof will be in the hardcore wearing, totting up how often it goes on my back over the years but my guess is that with some small make do and mending, the jacket will hopefully see some tumultuous times spanning a long period of time.