Summer’s about Pastels & Gels
Mint, lavender, lemon, peach, nope, they’re not a list for your grocery shopping but colours that should make an entrance in your outfit for the summer time. Pastels. We love the soft, subtle hues of pink, blue, yellow and purple that do not hurt the eyes as opposed to neons and heavily saturated bright pops of colours, which have been synonymous Spring Summer palettes.
Pastels are a league of its own and if our wardrobe reveals anything, it’s how our summer is going to be spent in a spectrum of muted colours for a calming adventure into pure bliss. To start it off, I’m looking to change up the usual beauty routine - by usual I mean the definitive black eyeliner - to pastel shades. Shocker? I’m with you. Clio has a series of pastel eyeliners to do the trick (albeit one is a vibrant red). The baby blue, mint and pale pink shades generally work well on all skin tones although I’d recommend those with reddish undertones to skip on the pink. If you’re wondering, my skin tone works best with the enlivening mint. It may seem weird to have streaks of these unsuspecting colours on your eyelids – Kindergarten art anyone? – but as long as the finish is satin-y, the effect is less chalkish and more brilliant. As with any eyeliner, it’s important that the colours do not budge and these are remarkable in that department in the sense that you may rub your eyes ten times over and while your eyes will feel sore, your liner game will remain on point. The Korean brand has repeatedly brought on innovative new products to the table. Pastels may not be new but their Gelpresso Glow Tints sure are. Shaped in a typical lipstick tube, the top is not lipstick but a plastic encasing the product. All you got to do is twist the bottom half and the product flows out through a small opening on the top.
Since the appearance will be relatively sheer, it requires multiple coats to achieve an opaque finish and it manages to lasts for at least half a day before touch ups are in line. Summer’s all about light, refreshing shades anyway.
And ideally all berry, wine and red vampy shades should be relegated to the back of your vanity – only to be retrieved for night outs. This season, go light on your eyes and your lips, ‘cause trust you me, they deserve a much needed break/ breather from heavy pigments.
Clio Gelpresso Waterproof Pencil, SGD$16.90
Clio Gelpresso Glow Tint, SGD$16.90
Both available at Watsons outlets in Singapore.
Phantasm | Interview with Ronit Genik of Reverie
If you asked me what I would love to do for the rest of my life, it would be to sit and fantasize (with a mimosa perhaps). Nothing else describes me better than a perpetual idealist, who relishes in conjuring up beautiful desires and dreams – that may or not happen but the process will always be a thrill ride…and I like my roller coasters.
Coming across Reverie, a New York based label that prides itself for designs garnered through a state of daydreaming, I knew it was a lock and key match built for the heavenly clouds.
While my New York plans fell through the cracks last year, the next best thing was an interview with the designer behind this sublimely ethereal brand, Ronit Genik. After spending time studying fashion in Parsons School of Design and a year in Paris, Genik created Reverie as an ode to individualism and transcendent confidence.
Her designs are not flamboyant or screaming for redemption but are subtle and coy; designs that speak for themselves without unnecessary frilly adornments. Indubitably, her designs are created through a healthy dose of phantasm.
How is Reverie different from other brands, considering there are a multitude of brands in New York?
I started Reverie because I believe that I express a unique point of view by using beautiful fabrics and original prints. My collections have special themes and concepts that are meaningful and personal to me and I think that comes through in each piece.
Are there any interesting fabrics or elements you tend to explore during designing?
I choose fabrics and concepts that are very special to me like textures or a unique cut or silhouette. I also love to mix opposites and use novelty fabrics in unexpected places. I try to use techniques to keep the collection feminine but edgy and modern.Do you think luxury and fast fashion can co-exist?
I think luxury and fast fashion can co-exist. Although many in the industry can be frustrated at fast fashion retailers knocking off designer’s original ideas from the runway, it is great that it can reach a larger consumer base and offer fashion trends at affordable prices. It makes fashion available to everyone. I think you need both markets, one to be aspirational and create desire and one to bring ideas and trends to a larger market.
What has been the biggest obstacle that you’ve had to overcome so far?
The biggest challenges are breaking into the industry as an emerging designer, as well as getting noticed and keeping up each season. As there are many established and up and coming designers out there, staying true to your brand and being innovative and finding new inspirations that are meaningful to you are keys to success.
What has been your most notable design to date and why?
There are always pieces in each collection that have special meaning to me. One of my favorites in Spring/Summer collection, is the Cloud printed silk coat with detachable hem that snaps off to become a crop jacket. I love this for Spring, it’s light and easy in a fun versatile print, whether your caught in a spring shower or on a bright sunny day.
Has being a fashion designer changed your views towards the fashion industry?
Sometimes the industry can be challenging and competitive, but I have had positive experiences within the fashion industry. Sometimes, there are pressures to follow trends or the hot new colors of the season, but I stay true to my brand and have had great feedback and support.
Would you consider fashion to be a significant part of your life, why?
I would consider fashion to be a very significant part of my life, because its what I live and breathe every day. Sometimes it just takes the smallest detail I see to get me inspired and new ideas flowing. I truly believe creativity and inspiration can be found anywhere.What are the upcoming plans for Reverie?
I hope to keep growing as a brand, developing into more areas like accessories and jewelry. I would love to create a lifestyle brand that incorporates all aspects of a woman’s wardrobe.
If you had one last piece of chiffon left, what would you make with it?
If I had one last piece of chiffon, I would make a floaty A-line dress. Very simple, beautiful and timeless with a small detail like a deep pleat from the back neck to give the dress a little twist.
What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers or students thinking of studying fashion?
I would advise that if fashion is your passion, follow your dream. I think its also great to get experience by interning and networking with others in the industry. As a designer, sometimes there is pressure to follow trends but I think it’s also important to stay true to your vision and yourself.
Images credit to Ronit Genik
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Good Lorde, Them Dark Lips
Lorde’s not the only one flaunting dark lips at every photo opportunity possible, there’s me.
The one thing my mom has constantly told or yelled at me whenever I headed out was, ‘put on some lipstick!’, that and to get home early. The former stuck to me more than the latter though. From as early as I could pick up a lipstick and smear it all over my face (except my lips) to do my best impersonation of my mom, I’ve been subconsciously veered towards the darkest of shades in the lipstick colour spectrum.
So not surprisingly, my meagre bric-a-brac of makeup essentials are primarily lipsticks, second to eyeliners – in black. My odd love for the dark-rimmed eyes and dark lipstick combination has been met with comments that I looked goth or that I’m committing beauty blasphemy. I beg to differ. Profusely.
But if I had to affix goth to my look, I’d call it sophisticated goth. Let’s just go with it and in relative degree of darkness, these are my lip’s choice of poison. L-R: M.A.C. Cyber AC9, Lakme Milan Red, Manhattan Cosmetics 56X, Topshop Hazard, Maybelline Blissful Berry
Dark lipsticks shouldn’t be avoided like the plague because well, it’s not the plague. I know there’s the whole, 'women look good in red lipsticks but men hate it' dare I say, adage but dark shades are the cosmetic’s equivalent to a tailored suit or classic Louboutins.
It gives you an inherent power and shows the world that you are not going to be a pushover – at least it gives the impression, whether you turn out to be all sweet and angelic is a whole other point. Instead of sticking to lighter, innocence-emphasizing shades of pink, embrace them darker shades and relish in the new layer of confidence, right from your lips.
Babbu on Fashion & Committee Members
Last December, by some odd decision of the mind, I got on a plane and went to Toronto, Canada in downright frigid temperatures. And by frigid, I do mean frigid in its entire sense. As cold as it was, the trip was a good change from Singapore’s heat and I, personally would still take the cold over heat. Evidence of frigid snow below. The unabashed highlight of the trip was grabbing coffee with Babbu – on the second last day of my trip at that. And for those who do not know, Babbu is a young creative, who occasionally appears in Youtuber, Jusreign's drop-to-floor-rolling-and-stitches-inducing hilarious videos.
But beyond being a funny man, Babbu is also a designer for street wear label, Committee Members and a part of the band, Zoo Babies. So, multi-faceted creative sounds a legit enough title.
So what makes you laugh?
Awkwardness is funny. And sometimes the humour that takes time to understand – witty, dark humour – I like that. Wes Anderson is good and it’s really dark or dry at some of the bits but it’s funny to me. I always find something funnier every time I re-watch his movies.
Would your style of humour then be witty or dark?
I don’t know. I’m good at impressions. I can be observant sometimes but the thing is I would be so scared to do stand up but I’ll try. I’ve done live shows or rather hosted events with Jasmeet so for those we do incorporate live stand up comedy. I guess, me and him as a team, we work well together.
How did Committee Members start?
We launched it in November 2013 but my brother and I had these ideas a year before. We’ve always wanted to do clothing but didn’t know how to do it. There were those shirts with funny Punjabi memes on it and we thought we would do those but with better designs however as we did the designs, we decided not to. Instead we decided to make it real and interesting and more than just a funny tee.
So we thought of the name, Committee Members, and it takes after Gurdwara politics where they have committee members and dictate everything. It’s a parody on that, a little bit.
But why sweaters only?
Sweaters made most sense during the time, it was fall winter but we plan to do t-shirts and track jackets as well. We want to go towards street fashion and athletics. These sweaters are made in Canada and we personally designed the fit and silhouette of the sweaters. The mass-manufactured blank sweaters are usually loose and slouchy but we wanted a modern cut.What else is in line for Committee Members?
The initial goal was to keep it Punjabi centric where Indians can relate to a lot the designs. Now we’re trying to transcend that goal towards street culture. My brother and I are really influenced by street culture since 2005 where we used to go on this site called Nike Talk. It was just all about sneakers and street wear.
We also have other projects in mind that are Indian centric but we intend to give it a modern update. For instance, we like the Punjabi jutti a lot but it tends to be uncomfortable so we want to make a modern version of that.
We’re always in support of fair treatment and ethical working environments so whenever we manufacture the products, we’ll have those factors in mind as well.
What’s your take on fashion?
I used to like it a lot. It seems as though it is so easy to be stylish or fashionable but sometimes I just don’t want to care for fashion. I just want to wear a kurta and pajama everyday for the rest of my life. I want to get to the point where I don’t feel like I need to wear the nicest jeans or sweatshirt. Still, I like it though, I mean who doesn’t like fashion?
Nowwwww, for the full interview, head to The Tilla.
The Rebel Queen
Impeccable dressed in a salwar-kameez, Punjab’s traditional attire, and accessorized in emeralds and rubies was the Sikh Empire’s last queen, Jind Kaur, youngest wife of the first king, Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Rather than narrating a whole history lesson of Punjab’s history, of the wars waged and of Great Britain’s reign and dominion, let’s just say, Jind Kaur was lauded for her gallant self. Some brandished her as the Messalina of Punjab while others saw her as the Rebel Queen. Whichever the term, she was one heck of a lady in those times.
So though I essentially do not have a wardrobe dripping with luxurious threads, I do own a chock load of traditional pieces that only see the light of day (or night) at weddings. Instead of relegating them to the deepest pits of a closet, I took them all out and reworked individual pieces into outfits I would wear as I would a pair of jeans.Fashion is remarkably cyclical where crop tops and jumpsuits invaded with a furor so strong it was hard to avoid and then to decline with only the most hardened battling on, regardless of fashion’s forward momentum but then to rise out of the ashes, like a phoenix, at some point inevitably as it all comes full circle, with the circle getting wider and having more points to jump towards if one is not inclined to roll along on a carousel-like route. Got that? Yes.
The same goes with traditional wear, hemlines oscillate up and down and the bottoms either get skinnier or increased in pleats and drapes to induce greater volume. Very much aligned to the skinny and flared pants of the Western world.
And hand-me-downs work beyond wonders here - this salwar (i.e. bottoms) was sewn by my mom for herself when she was in her 30s.
Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation?
The last time I wrote about a designer borrowing cultural elements was for Jean Paul Gaultier’s Mens SS13. At that time, it was a moment of glory that the Sikh turban was being given the rightful spotlight and appreciated along with other cultural bits - from kilts to mandarin collars.
Looking back, I’m not so sure it’s appreciation as much as it’s blatant appropriation. Considering the Sikh turban is worn as a religious symbol, to then popularize it as a trendy must-wear item of clothing in the exact shape becomes contentious.
More so because it perpetuates the idea that if non-Sikh were to don it, they would look ineffably cool but perceptions toward Sikhs who wear it on a daily basis remain unchanged. Sikhs in turbans are still seen as backward or even unkempt. Sikhs are still being targeted as potential terrorists and ridiculed for wearing ‘balls on their head’.
So should the very simple act of a fashion designer ‘borrowing’ an item of clothing from a culture be applauded or shamed? Especially when the said article of clothing is traditionally worn as signifier of the Sikh faith.
It’s great that the turban is receiving the attention, it is one step closer to understanding the Sikh culture. But it deserves rightful appreciation, extended to the wearer as well.
There exists a fine and rather blurry line between what is cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. After all, where would fashion be if not for the vast variety of cultures, with their own traditions and why should they not have their voices expressed in an increasingly Westernized world. Many designers have used this and created brand new works and stunning designs but others have not.
Just recently, my news feed imploded with Paul Smith’s Robert Sandals. To the uninformed, the shoes may be a stroke of genius, with its classy neon piping and rather unique form. Everyone else who have been to our neck of the woods will know that the ‘Robert’ sandals are essentially Peshawari Chappals which were given a western makeover. Very much like the Outside-of-India Born Indian.
Here’s where the issue gets tricky because while it could be cultural appreciation, it wasn’t appreciated right. I would have been contented if Paul Smith named the shoe Peshawari Sandals. Or gave some form of recognition to where the idea came from (they did eventually after a concentrated attempt via social media and South Asian press), even if I believe an argument can be made for ‘inspired’ and ‘rip-off’.These are essentially shoes that Pashtun men have worn for the last 200 years so it’s most definitely not new.
The fashion industry has always been snarky to manufacturers who produce fakes and now we’ve got a luxury brand doing the exact same thing. So just because the Peshawari sandal doesn’t belong to any one brand, does it then become a free-for-all for designer brands lacking creativity, to re-appropriate something for themselves?
Casual, the new Practical
Somewhere along the lines of day to day dressing up, ‘clowning up’ during fashion weeks and general attempts at looking remotely stylish, efforts began diluting to just being casual. Countless event invites now have the dress code emblazoned as, ‘casual smart’, ‘casual chic’, ‘casual formal’ - is that even possible? Casual and Formal? On which part of the continuum do we pinpoint casual formal?
The prevailing jeans and t shirt combination is no longer saved for casual fridays or described as the quintessential American style, the pairing has gone global. Runways have been strewn with sporty attires, sweatpants and there’s even office-appropriate yoga pants. Yep, the industry went there alright.
Casual is appropriate and ideally comfort dressing should be the norm. There’s no need to dress up for the supermarket (as much as Chanel wants to) or to run errands. But is it appropriate to be casual all the time? That’s the real concern because can we truly eradicate gowns, fancy poofy dresses and suits from the streets?
Normcore thinks so.
Us, milennials have not particularly grown up seeing large members of society impeccably dressed, no matter what the occasion. Thus seeing those who do - in this age - results in brandishing them to an elite group. A group that lives within their own bubble and is hard to break into. In that sense, we could thus view dressing down, whether amongst friends, at dinner or at the office, as signaling inclusivity (rather than elitism from dressing up) with just about everyone. Essentially, any form of dressing is in itself not an issue other than the meanings conveyed through it. The kerfuffle is simple:
Dressing up = belonging to an exclusive group of ‘well-dressers’
Dressing down = creating a comfortable atmosphere for inclusivity
Yet, style and comfort need not be mutually exclusive. So while supporters work around the ‘style’ factor, it’s safe to say the casual phenomenon will continue to reign.
Fashion weeks are not helping casual dressers with their exorbitant price tags, fast fashion is. Fast fashion has created a global craze for low price points and convenience over quality resulting in the 'I can wear once and throw it away without feeling guilty' mindset. But at the same time, appear casual and to some point stylish. Case in point: this outfit features apparels from fast fashion stores bought at a discount (Cotton On, Uniqlo, ASOS, New Look), except for the denim vest (Rachel Roy) but was similarly bought at 90% off. Glory to North America for boxing day sales.
As much as clothes make the person and creates an expression, the person makes the clothes. If we can change our self perception towards the clothes we wear then perhaps, casual will cease to mean sloppy or slovenly and formal will cease to mean superior. Meanings and senses of what we see are constantly changing - as much as trends are. One simply takes far longer and far more effort.
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Circulating around CC Creams | Bourjois & Beauty Biotics
By now you would be sick of literary’s alliteration device but bare with me here - it was (a tad) obligatory.
The beauty industry imploded when BB creams surfaced. Getting your manicured hands on them were all the rage and now we have CC (colour correction) creams. Sure, they’ve pretty much been relegated to old news but out of all the ‘cleverly titled’ products (by that I mean, AA, BB, CC, DD, EE), CC stood out for its efficacy. BB creams never made it into my beauty cabinet for their blatant disregard to darker-than-ivory skin tones. When CC creams rolled around, brands somehow had a lightbulb moment and began introducing a variety of shades. So personally, as a freshman into these word play creams, I’ve only tried Bourjois’s newest kid, the 123 Perfect CC Cream and Beauty Biotics BB/CC Cream.
Bourjois’s thinner, more fluid consistency meant it was easier to work with and blend into the skin - whether by getting messy with your fingers or with a brush. It provides medium coverage, is readily buildable and has lasted me up to 10 hours with minimal powder room trips. Ahh if only we still had fancy powder rooms…
Beauty Biotics on the other hand has a thicker consistency that takes a little more effort to blend but results in medium coverage as well. It stays on relatively well without touch ups. In terms of sun protection, this one fares better with its broad spectrum SPF 40/PA +++ as opposed to Bourjois’s SPF 15. However, with only 2 shades to choose from, this universal suitability may not be its strongest suit. Additionally Beauty Biotics, as the name may already suggest, champions itself for delivering skincare benefits with their makeup range. Taking heed from the needs of a modern woman’s lifestyle, the products are created to shorten beauty routines with multitasking products. If makeup could double up as skincare then hello 10 extra minutes of sleep every morning and mind you that is precious.
Wear your heart on your nails.
Unfortunately, I came late to the party. The (heart-shaped) balloons had fallen, champagne had been popped and kisses had been exchanged but my nails were definitely early to the party or rather they had a party of their own. They were a happy bunch, in all of their xoxo and lip smacking fun - VDay or not.
Valentine’s Day is where you’d be cocooned into a dome of highly saturated, saccharine shades of pink everywhere - from your outfit choices to hearts to roses to gift wrappers - not quite the sight for those who run for the hills when so much as a stripe of pink adorns their dress.
So while all the lovely fanfare is over, let’s look to dressing up our nails beyond February 14 and that too in all of amor’s transient glory. Both ncLA and Gummi Nails came up with charming designs that are bound to get noticed whenever a hair flick is in order. Whether youthful and vibrant or classy and sophisticated, ncLA and Gummi Nails are rather spot on in getting your nails covered.
Gummi Nails changed the formula of their wraps and now feature real polish on the thin film-like adhesive. A hoot to apply and they last for 12 days at least, without a hitch. These are just perfect for lackadaisical, nail enthusiasts, me and me - done. Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
The Big Fat Indian Wedding - Here to Stay…or Not?
"When is wedding season?"
"Like all the time. Someone is getting married every other weekend in Singapore, the temples are booked months ahead."
So, yes, there is no wedding season here in Singapore and when the community is that small, you can be banking on your parents getting invited all the time and of course you will see the same people at every wedding. And if you did not already know, Indian weddings are lavish affairs that span for days. Joy.
The best part though, hands down, are the clothes (second to the glorious food of course). This is the only time where you will get to see all of India’s best tailoring and craftsmanship congregated in one place. Heavily saturated, embroidered, embellished, sequined and in varied silhouettes, an Indian wedding is one big royal fashion parade.Yet, the air of a celestial bridal being indubitably lies in the assortment of jewelry she adorns - from the nathli (nose ring) to the mathapatti or tikka (headpiece) - always the regal centerpiece. And while most of the attention would be on the bride’s attire and her several change of wardrobes, her guests are not far behind. They too would be dressed to the nines. Weddings are where aunties will sit and marvel at her companion’s salwar kameez while she secretly plots her next grand outfit to one up that very companion the next day. Weddings are after all, the only time to flaunt one’s traditional attire without sticking out like a sore thumb.
This opulence behind the ‘big fat Indian wedding’ was succinctly captured in Vogue India’s November issue. Though the spread mimics weddings of higher net worth individuals, the dream and fantasy-like ambience is no stranger to any Indian wedding. We may not have elephants and horses at our weddings in Singapore but the fanfare is not spared in terms of decorations and the extravagance of traditional attire. Just to put things into perspective, a Sabyasachi Mukherji (leading luxury bridal wear designer) lengha may cost upwards of S$28,000. It is also said that a wedding lengha is valued for its weight, so the heavier it is, the better its quality.
However, the billion dollar wedding industry in India is likely on its way to a slowdown as the younger generation turn a high nose to flaunting wealth. After decades of excess, the search is on for a newfound sobriety in weddings. The search ultimately lies in a wholly different form of sophistication, a sophistication beyond shimmer and diamante. Similarly, the fashion industry at large is headed towards minimalism, although sometimes so simple, the eye is left uninspired.
Nonetheless, simplicity as an aesthetic proposition is delicately creeping into the bridal industry. The change in sensibilities resulted in brides no longer gunning for the theatrics surrounding a flamboyant wedding. Instead, the desire is for a cosy and quaint celebration of love with those that matter rather than with an extensive guest list of business associates or distant, distant relatives they never knew existed.
The big fat Indian wedding persists - week long celebrations, a bottomless pit of food and multiple (ostentatious) outfit changes - for it’ll be some time before we relegate bling and adornments on lenghas as mere frippery but the grass on this newly discovered path may wear out soon enough. It would be a shame to see years of decadent tradition give way to bare minimalism but I suppose the trick here lies in achieving a level of understated elegance, at smaller price points. Till then, money will continue to roll for couture level bridal designers in India.
Vogue India images from Fashion Gone Rogue
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