Friday, May 30, 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
You may not know the brand Helen Kaminski yet, but your favourite celebrity pals do. Brangelina love the hat brand. Blake Lively's been known to sport one or two (not at the same time, of course). Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Ashley Olsen... yep, they all rock Helen Kaminski on the reg. And the brand has now landed in Hong Kong, which is perfect since this is one city in which we truly understand the virtue of sun protection. And Helen Kaminski hats actually have SPF built into the material.
We spoke to the brand's general manager, Allison Bard, about a few hatty and batty things in life...read on to check out which Helen Kaminski hat is best for fugitives (or, I guess, celebrities escaping the paparazzi), her secret-weapon beauty product and the first item she blew big bucks on!
HKFG: When should you absolutely wear a hat, and when is it extremely ill-advised?
AB: For both style and practicality, a hat is a must-wear to a Polo match. The right hat is the perfect complement to a smart casual dressing style for both women and men, and provides much needed sun protection, especially when performing the ritual of divot stomping.
I would warn against wearing a wide brim or tall crown hat to the cinema. You don’t want to risk having your back to someone who feels you have thoughtlessly encroached on their view for your style needs. But if you must (as some of us do!), then a flat cap, baker boy cap, or beanie will have you looking fab without disrupting your fellow cinema goers views.
HKFG: You're going on the lam and can only take one hat with you. Which hat is it?
AB: This is a hard question, especially since hats are a great way to change your look and keep people guessing. My initial instinct was to take one our rollable and packable hats, for practical reasons. However, thinking with a more criminal mind, I would opt for the ‘Savoka’ hat from our SS14 collection. The great benefits of this hat for “going on the lam” are that the wide ‘faux-floppy’ brim will elegantly obscure my face, the fine raffia braid can be easily reshaped by applying steam, the butted braid (edge-to-edge sewn with zigzag stitch) construction is light weight and easy to wear, and the UPF 50+ sun protection (have to take care of your skin even on the run!). Even more compelling is the opportunity to outsmart the authorities by diverting their attention with the beautiful hand embroidery. Who would never suspect that such an attention grabbing hat would be the disguise of a wanted woman?!
HKFG: What’s your favourite thing about Hong Kong?
AB: I love the mix of the traditional and modern, the fast pace of the city, and the dramatic throng of skyscrapers climbing up The Peak and dropping into Hong Kong Harbour. I do miss flying into the old airport. The view into living rooms and between buildings was a truly unique and exhilarating welcome.
HKFG: What was your first big investment purchase?
AB: My first fashion investment was Le Carré Hermès which I got in Paris when I was a still a student studying fashion. It was a huge investment at the time and very exciting to select from the store on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. I still love wearing it more than 25 years later, so I guess it was a good investment.
HKFG: What’s your favourite iPhone app?
AB: SKYPE because I can connect with my family and friends around the world no matter where I travel
HKFG: Name your secret-weapon beauty product.
AB: It sounds boring but I have to say, sun screen. Since moving to Sydney 15 years ago, it is an absolute must to protect my skin. I use Neutrogena Ultra Sheet Dry-Touch SPF 50+ which was recommended by dermatologist (we all have one in Australia). And, of course, wearing a hat to shield my face from the sun
HKFG: Tell us your secret ambition.
AB: I am lucky that I work in an industry I enjoy and for a brand that I believe in. But, my secret ambition would be to try my hand at writing as well as to have the time to dedicate to charitable work.
HKFG: Your ultimate indulgence food or go-to food when you’re stressing out?
AB: Dark chocolate… anything to do with dark chocolate.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
My love for NPH only grows day by day. Not only is he amazingly talented (I watch the Tony Awards show purely for his opening and closing numbers) but he just seems so darn fun! Have you seen his instagram (@instagraph)? I honestly let out a chuckle when I saw his margaritas adventure photos. I have never read a celebrity autobiography but I think he is about to change that. NPH is coming out with a choose your own adventure style autobiography where "at each critical juncture of your life you will choose how to proceed. You will decide whether to try out for Doogie Howser, M.D. You will decide whether to spend years struggling with your sexuality. You will decide what kind of caviar you want to eat on board Elton John’s yacht. Choose correctly and you’ll find fame, fortune, and true love. Choose incorrectly and you’ll find misery, heartbreak, and a guest stint on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew." Doesn't that seem like an entertaining way to while away a couple hours? Check out the details at http://nphbook.com/.
Monday, May 26, 2014
I've been more than a little intrigued by the appearance of Paul Andrew on the list of shoe designers to know. These floral numbers in particular have been a great showcase for his work -- elegant and expensive (that favourite adjective of Nina Garcia's on Project Runway, and in her case and this, a decided compliment rather than diss), but still with a healthy injection of fun and whimsy, but not so much as to cross into Sophia Webster territory. We all know I'm a big Sophia fan, and nobody makes comfortable shoes like she does, but Paul Andrew takes florals and stripes and makes them look way more classy than you'd ever expect, with colour combos that are classic but still pop (purple and green!) and good range when it comes to heel heights and sizes and shapes. Wedges, stilettos, chunky heels, kitten heel, flats, sandals, pointy-toed... the only thing that doesn't feature is a round-toe anything, but that makes sense, because everybody knows that round toes are for pussies.
Get these at Paul Andrew.
Longtime readers of this blog will recall that I’m a big Disney Villains fan going so far as to transcribing the snarky interview that MAC did with Maleficent (my favourite villain) back when they launched the Venomous Villains collection four years ago and squeeing when threadless came up with a villains collection and promptly bought the Maleficent t-shirt. So it was happiness all around when I knew that Disney was doing a Maleficent story (similar to Wicked I presume which is one of my favourite musicals). The icing on the cake was finding out when MAC was doing a collection based on the movie in collaboration with Angelina Jolie’s makeup team.
This time around, the Maleficent x MAC collection is decidedly more grown up and can be used for everyday wear in the business environment. Bold reds and nudes are predominant as well as moody dark palettes of brown. Longtime fans might be disappointed with the lack of colour such as the previous purples, greens, blues but given that I’m now all about practicality (what can I say? I’m getting old!), I find this collection to be just right.
PS One final note, have you heard Lana Del Rey's interpretation of Once Upon a Dream yet? It's so eerily good! Listen to it below.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Upping my plate game lately. Never realised how much you can pay for a plate. No wonder all those Versace x Rosenthal delights get mounted on walls instead of used for spaghetti. Enjoy some plate porn!
Friday, May 23, 2014
Not quite sure how I feel about this Saint Laurent Monogramme quilted leather tote. There's something classic about it but it also just seems to be an interpretation of a 2.55. Is it the black and gold? Is it the quilt? The chains? I'm not sure. Looking at each aspect separately, I don't see Chanel but put it all together and all I can see is Chanel. Hmmm wonder why.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
HKFG: What’s on your lust list?
GL: One, that crazy egg scrambling thing on kickstarter which scrambles eggs INSIDE the egg. Crazy shizzles! Although I’m probably just curious what it will do and get bored after the third egg. Two, just about every piece of art in Bibo HK. In particular, the gigantic Kaws statute. I swear, one day I’m just going to get a big big truck, and shoplift it when no one is looking. Three, a time machine and the luck of ten thousand rabbits foot so that I can eat at the last dinner at El Bulli.
HKFG: What food item can’t you live without?
GL: Fish sauce. It’s like my secret weapon. I add it to just about everything. From Rendang to Roast Chicken. (yeah yeah calm down all you Peranakan and Western Food purists). I know it’s the most overused word in the short history of good food but it really does pack some serious UMAMI.
HKFG: What’s the thing you could live without... but still can’t bear to part with? GL: Probably my red chipped, beaten and weathered Le Creuset. It’s been with me for about 6 years now. I can use a wok or a stainless steel pot but I always end up cooking everything in it, from Chinese herbal soups to bitter medicine, to making curries, stir frying vegetables, and making pot roasts. (hey Le Creuset, if you ever need a spokesperson...... *hinthint*)
HKFG: What’s your favourite thing about Hong Kong? GL: The fact that you can go from Blade Runner crazy urban vertical jungle of glass and metal where there will always be a human being with their armpits in your face (the woes of being short), to bright green wide spaces and hills and old school grandmas selling beancurd from a wooden shack in about 30 mins by ferry. It’s crazy no? Tourists who just come to HK to engage in daily moshing at TsI’m Sha Tsui and Mongkok are seriously missing out on some amazingness.
HKFG: Tell us your secret ambition. GL: Something along the lines of something food related. I want to be able to inspire young Singaporean kids to cook Singaporean food again. It’s such a shame because many people are lamenting the loss of good Singaporean food but no one seems to be doing anything about it. I guess it’s not as cool as whipping up a roast chicken or making pasta like Jamie Oliver. But it’s really sad if one day in future, I realise that I cannot find good Singaporean food anymore. That was my reason for writing the cookbook.
HKFG: Your ultimate indulgence food or go-to food when you’re stressing out? GL: In HK, nothing. NOTHING. NOTHING. I REPEAT NOTHING hit that spot like For Kee's pork chop rice with fried egg. NOTHING. Ok. Wait. Maybe there's one thing. It’s the Satay Beef Onion sandwich WITH fried egg. BOOM. FLAWLESS VICTORY.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Being boarding-school brats in Boston, Virginia and I were huge mail-order-catalogue fans. We dug Delia's, like most teenage girls, but we were also subscribers to J.Crew -- I mean, who in New England wasn't? I remember when the first brick-and-mortar store opened in Boston's Galleria mall, it was the most exciting thing ever until H&M opened in Downtown Crossing. Oh, how easily we were wooed by fast fashion...
It was the woolly pea coats I most coveted, in camel or navy, but now the brand is all grown up with a resuscitation story that is no doubt making case-study rounds at all other stagnant fashion-retail houses. It's gone from prep-school aspirational to quirky tomboy approachable, upping price points but gaining more fans along the way. I mean, consider the fact that in Hong Kong it's being managed and distributed by luxury behemoth Lane Crawford. And sure, I guess you can still score your basics -- summer cashmere, khaki shorts, the perfect button-down -- at any J.Crew store across the globe. But you can also get your hands on all sorts of fashion-forward classics, like a neoprene floral trumpet skirt or a pair of perfect paint-splattered boyfriend jeans.
It's nice to meet a brand that truly grows up with you.
J.Crew's women's store opens in ifc mall today, and the men's store at On Lan Street.
Diners at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong's Lounge & Bar on the 102nd floor of the ICC can now have both the angel and the devil sitting either side of their shoulders. That's because during the day there's a fantastic organic salad bar for HK$180 including a soup and dessert or HK$218 with an additional glass of fruity iced tea. While by evening, the dining experience moves up on the classy scale by introducing the "Exclusive 12" where a dozen guests sitting at the bar can have their drinks specially prepared by award-winning mixologist Lewis Tsang and served in Baccarat glassware to celebrate the French crystal house's 250th anniversary.
The salad bar is not like any typical spread -- here there are 10 different organic vegetables and greens including butter head lettuce, baby spinach, Italian lettuce, romaine and watercress, as well as beetroot, artichokes, fennel, and asparagus. The salads can then be topped with sunflower seeds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, cashews and quinoa too.
Take your green combination to the counter where you can choose from premade dressings that include roast sesame (yum), or ask the chef there to create a light dressing of virgin olive oil and a selection of fruit-flavoured vinegars.
On the day we went the soup of the day was roast pumpkin and was delicious to the last drop accompanied with healthy breads too, including a German one covered in flax seeds. If that isn't healthy, I don't know what is.
As for the "Exclusive 12" experience, "Cocktails in Baccarat" include classics like the Vesper Martini (London No 1 Gin, Ketel One Vodka and Americano Cocchi), Snow Finch (sherry, lychee, elderflower and Champagne), and Mr. Song (Premium Whisky, lemon, elderflower, black truffle, egg white, ginger and bitter).
Tsang has also concocted some new interpretations on drinks like Mai Tai, Americano, Sazerac and Margarita. There's also Champagne cocktails and martini ones too, and Tsang will entertain requests. And what to pair with those drinks?
The bar snack menu features such gourmet treats as Balik salmon, duck foie gras terrine, Wagyu beef skewers, lobster cocktail and Iberico ham.
Your next visit to Lounge & Bar will be surely be a sophisticated affair, drinking premium cocktails from Baccarat glasses and looking down on a million-dollar view (provided it's a clear evening...).
So are you an Angel or a Devil, or both?
Lounge & Bar
102/F, The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
International Commerce Centre
Monday, May 19, 2014
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Then I saw the collaboration with Johnny Cupcakes and for a second, I forgot that it was a t-shirt company as I only saw The Simpsons x cupcakes and got all excited and starting thinking ohh maybe I can make fondant Simpson characters to teach the kids at Spark Studios and completely disregarded the release. (Yes this is my thought process and how I can get easily distracted.) Anyway, seeing as Johnny Cupcake shops are only available in Boston, LA and London, perhaps it was a good thing that my brain went on a tangent hence I'm writing about it now. Anyway, the t-shirts debuts end of this month while the MAC collection comes out in the fall. Stay tuned!
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Monday, May 12, 2014
With all the hoopla about Art Basel opening this week, it reminded me of the photography concept store YellowKorner that opened in IFC late last year and the prints I was looking at when I was at the Affordable Art Fair which YellowKorner also participated in. The brand was established in 2006 by two French art lovers with the belief of introducing photographers from all over the world and presenting a wide panorama of renowned artists such as Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Man Ray & Jean Dieuzaide as well as promising contemporary photographers and I love wandering in their shop just checking out the latest prints. Check out some of their prints after the cut.
YellowKorner: shop 3022b, podium level 3, ifc mall, central, hong kong
Friday, May 9, 2014
I've been a super big fan of Sophia Webster since she first flew out of Nicholas Kirkwood's nest and launched her own shoe line. Quirky, statement-making and most importantly, ridiculously comfortable, they're a girly girl's dream come true. Turns out J. Crew's Jenna Lyons is a fan too, because she asked the adorable shoe designer to do a capsule collection, incorporating some classic Webster styles in fun new prints and materials. A bunch of them are sold out online, but surprisingly, not the ones I wanted most, these tropical-patterned Lola pumps. Love!
Get them at J.Crew.
Whenever I see these posts about facts about HK I probably don't know, I am like hmmm I wonder how many I actually don't know versus the average person. Turns out, still quite a few. One thing though, can we get rid of this soundtrack and put in something that is actually from HK? Perhaps an Eason soundtrack? (Yes there may be copyright issues blah blah but come on you're Buzzfeed. I'm sure you can figure something out!)
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Monday, May 5, 2014
I know Virginia is a big fan of Frozen, but the whole premise kind of annoyed me. Like, the little troll says "Control her powers" and the parents think the way to do that is to lock her up? And put gloves on her? That's so Rapunzel, and so un-21st century. And as Freud taught us, repression is bad. Repression will turn you into a frigid bitch.
Anyway, I was expressing this view to my brother and his wife over the weekend, and they alerted me to this video -- apparently I'm not the only one who felt this way about the film, which is nice. And even nicer, our opinionated friends had a funnier solution to the problem of too much ice...
Friday, May 2, 2014
I love me some pink, but from a decor perspective, it's always seemed a little too twee to incorporate pink touches into a living environment. Like you're travelling back in time to when you were a kid and wanted to grow up in a princess room with a canopy bed and pink wallpaper and pillows and servants dressed in all pink who every evening would lay out your pink outfit for the next day in your big, pink, walk-in closet. In other words, too much fantasy, not enough reality. But Pinterest has alerted me to the possibilities -- as long as you're working in muted shades of pink, and using them as accent areas rather than dominant colour schemes.
That hot-pink Beethoven bust is a must, by the way.
Images: Google and Pinterest