BLUEPRINT 2013 | 4 Accessory Labels to Hunt Down
This year, the selection of exhibitors at BLUEPRINT (Singapore’s tradeshow & emporium) seems to be of a completely different breed, in a good way of course. One walk around and I could see more labels with strong design concepts and unquestionable craftsmanship. Now, the accessory labels were truly stunning pieces of art and that was probably why the accessories zone was consistently buzzing with excited gleams from buyers and media.
It was warranted attention for sure.
In my little time to walk about, I scouted 4 spine-tingling accessory labels and it’s no surprise that 2 of them are based in Thailand. Thailand designers have a peculiar eye for jewelry, you’ll see why in a bit.
Thai label, Nitz Designs creates intricate pieces, which are subtle narratives of our social lives. From decadent luxuries to street culture, each collection is highly conceptual but grounded in a reality, or something akin, we can attach ourselves to.
Take a look at these two ram-headed pieces. They immediately hearken us to biblical metaphors and mythological experiences, the image and animal itself already indemnified as such.
These are earrings, yes earrings. To wear them, you’d have to split open the ram’s head (I’m sure there’s a story about this somewhere) to two & wear them in a way such that your ear is wedged in between each half of the ram’s head. Ingenious? Definitely.
The price points are on the higher range (in the hundreds) but for such hand crafted finesse, you know you’re getting your money’s worth.
The next Thai label, Mosstories, has a unique flair of creating statement pieces without it looking gaudy or over the top. Statement pieces are usually tricky to master - they need to be of the right proportion and stand out in a sea of people, without being clunky.
Inspired by the African tribal groups and their manner of attire, the latest collection by Mosstories is essentially a toned down interpretation, mostly making sense of the geometric shapes involved. Nonetheless, expect lots of brights and neons at their booth - bound to lure you in.
Earrings wil be going for about SGD$40-50 and necklaces will be SGD$100+.
Now for some home pride. Singapore based accessory label, Setu is thoughtfully designed and has some elaborately handmade pieces. Each step in the process has been carefully calculated from treating the metal parts with a finishing to prolong its wear to digitalizing designs on sequins for a quaint touch.
A label that puts such immense thought into details has an immediate tick in my book and makes shopping for designer pieces that much different from a fast fashion brand. The line is clear.
If I remember correctly, the above necklaces will be in the hundreds range.
Just as every exhibitor was busy packing up for the day, I literally had to scurry down to Zone A and capture this beautiful Balinese label, Tulola. If you’re looking to only score some elegant cocktail rings, head down to their booth and you’ll be set.
More updates from BLUEPRINT will be up tomorrow night or just stay glued to Instagram!
The Pit Building, Level 3
1 Republic Boulevard
Shuttle buses are available from ION Orchard
Shoes of Prey x Romance Was Born
The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The way to a woman’s heart? Feet. Or more specifically, shoes on feet. Drop dead gorgeous shoes - just to put everything into perspective.
I’ve seen how exquisite shoes have made even the most sensible woman weak in her knees. There’s just something about us wanting to have an exquisite article to walk in and catch a glimpse of as we huddle through a crowded bus or train. It adds a smile and a twinkle to an otherwise usually drab day.
It was a moment of revelry when Shoes of Prey, an Australian company launched, promoting the full customization of your dream pair of shoes. Pick different styles, throw in some materials, dribble colours and in a matter of minutes, you’ll have your very own signature shoes. Akin this to a personal shoe factory coming to life right before your eyes.
Also, free worldwide delivery just gives the entire concept a real good punch. Feel it yet? That itch to head to Shoes of Prey is mounting up pretty nicely, no? Well, reign it in for a bit.
Shoes of Prey recently debuted their collaborations with Australian labels. One that I’ve come to love was the eclectic partnership with Australian label, Romance Was Born. Known for their psychedelic take on fashion and theatrical sets, their SS13/14 show was a journey into a young girl’s mind, where a wicked imagination takes centre stage.
No aspect was left untainted of colour and expression, from make up to set design to styling. Resulting in every turn and step being a climatic juncture. The myriad of elements may be a tad overwhelming but each well thought intricate detail was deserving of every second of gaze by the sunglasses toting audience.
I wasn’t at the show and already my fingers are shivering with excitement as my eyes dart from corner to corner of each picture to grasp the wonderment at the venue.
The shoes were yet another treat where flouncy frills in a labyrinth of shades enveloped their feet on a cushiony mesh. A tutu for your feet if you’d fancy.
A word of caution though: thread carefully. You do not want to anger the likes of Suzy Menkes if she catches you parading in them and creating a spectacle as photographers swarm to capture the goodness on your feet.
Designers, Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett captured subtle Aussie sensibilities with exaggerated elements and delivered a visually stunning, kaleidoscopic experience.
All about having a bout of fun with these Aussies. Throw some confetti, bring in drinks, drop some beats and the audience could have their own after-party right on this set!
SALONI RATHOR re-construes Nature
To be honest, I’ve heard the nature inspiration countless times and each time you’d expect the collection to be laden with multitudes of green and blue hues, blossoming flowers and well, the occasional brown.
SALONI RATHOR on the other hand delved deeper and decamped from the age old nature inspiration with a collection that isn’t au naturale but rather on the metamorphosis of natural elements. It’s the elements we overlook with our sweeping eyes but think about how the surroundings transform when the seasons move from Winter to Spring, maybe not entirely apparent in Singapore but you’ll get the drift.
While inspiration may lay the ground of any good collection, the eventual execution is equally significant. With the current SS13 collection, Saloni has upped her game by introducing silks and higher grade polyesters, creating a more luxurious and yet wearable ambience.
The sheer riot of colours and comfortable lining, made of Shantung, makes for an ideal summer outfit, especially so in the beyond obviously humid Singapore (Pardon me as I continue to pick on Singapore’s weather in every post).As the collection represents a rebirth of nature after a dreary Winter, the label’s direction has also taken a refreshed outlook of sorts. Moving forward, Saloni is determined to present bold and expressive designs without scrimping on quality.
The road ahead for Saloni may be arduous in Singapore’s small market but her zealous drive for fashion and design will indubitably keep her in check.
While our eyes are set on her.
PARCO next NEXT, #P2-30i, Milennia Walk
Victoria Juomo, 9 & 47 Haji Lane
Whenever everything else outside of the internet (work/ school) starts to subsume me, it feels like I’m entering a cold, cold void. Ironically, that void isn’t empty but overflowing with demands and responsibilities in a rather organized mish mash, much like a garden maze. Desperate, I needed an escape route.
So, making the decision to drop by Pashma, after like
months ok weeks of not getting any visually appealing insights, proved to be rather inspirational and might I add, educational. From the people of Changpa in Ladakh to how the goat’s coat is harvested, Pashma has a rich history fit for constant narration, one where you wouldn’t doze off towards the end. The lush and soft cashmere intertwined in their pieces are made from the unknowing goats grazing in Changthang, Ladakh, India. Additionally, printed cashmere has hardly ever been heard off till Pashma came bursting onto the scene and pioneered coloured and brightly printed cashmere materials. Without Pashma, we might still be stuck in the age of dreary cashmere for winter wear. Not that Singapore needs winter wear but you know the occasional trips to Europe do. While prices range from SGD$200 to over a thousand bucks, note that everything you see in the store is made by the very meticulous hands of the Changpa folk in Changthang - think hand weaved and hand beaded.
Mind you, they do not simply manufacture scarves after scarves, there is a whole range of resort wear, t-shirts, blouses and winter wear. All of which are made either in cashmere, silk, linen or an amalgamation of the three. From goats that are claimed to be devoid of genetic manipulation to having hair that is 6 times finer than human hair, it is no wonder one feels so nurtured and rich when surrounded by these luxuriant garments in a warmly lighted store with boundary-less ceilings.
Luckily (for many) it’s not just a colour and print explosion throughout, once you manage to traverse to the back of the store, you’ll enter a realm filled with neutrals and the comforting black we all know so well. Ahhhh, black.
Something that Indian designers, including Shilu Kumar of Pashma, does very well is the effortless weaving of traditional Indian elements with modern sensibilities. However, as India’s fashion industry continues to open up to the West, I honestly fear that their designs may begin to skew towards more contemporary ideals. Although that would be increasing commercialism but inherently, traditional elements are what makes Indian designers different from the rest.
One could only hope that the balance between tradition and modernity is preserved. All good things must come to an end and when you’re bounded by time, there is no escape. Hence, time came and left and so did I but I left with a wealth of information, not just on the production of cashmere and the Changpa people but on the multiple ways of tying their scarves. Trust me when I say multiple, I mean it. Multiple.
Changi Airport Terminals 2 & 3
Marina Bay Sands
Raffles Shopping Arcade
Robe Raiders x Curated Editions
Picture 3 girls running around all over the world literally raiding through multiple closets to retrieve the best of designer garments and finally selling them off at a heavily discounted price and you’ll see an image of the Robe Raiders. Now, imagine another venture dedicated to dripping women with drool worthy accessories and you’ll land on Curated Editions. Get Robe Raiders and Curated Editions into a room together, that’s where you’ll witness a brilliant marriage.
That marriage led to an exquisite day of playing dress up in designer wear and when I mean exquisite, I mean spikes-on-louboutins exquisite. Together with several other bloggers, we had a little photoshoot in the middle of refurbished shophouses where every other person in office wear could only longingly look on (or wonder if we were lost).
Like what you see and want to see more? (We all do). Robe Raiders x Curated Editions are holding an open house sale and will be featuring a little bit of Seafolly as well. So expect colourful bikinis and all the other stuff you wear (or take off?) on a beach amongst a sea of Chanels, Wangs, Louboutins and accessories by TOTON, Elizabeth Cole and well the list goes on for a quite while.
Jan 31 – Feb 2 (Thursday to Saturday) 2013, 11am – 6pm
Mercury Marketing & Communications Office (Level 2)
101A Telok Ayer Street
Get your wallets & stilettos ready. The first one to the Robert Rodriguez feather skirt wins.
Atelier Fang | Alternating Dimensions
If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s my addiction to shoes. It’s unhealthy but who cares, it’s there. Being invited to Atelier Fang, a relatively new comer to the shoe scene in Singapore, was like being invited to paradise where shoes were the currency and the language. Stiletto morning anyone?
Located in the snazzy Mandarin Gallery, the store was calling out to me from a distance. No egregious sign boards, just small monograms on the glass exterior was enough to ascertain that I had arrived at the right store. No awkward moments, thank you.
While I knew the store was new, I wasn’t privy to the knowledge that the designer, ShiQi Fang was a fresh graduate from MDIS. Now to start a full fledged business immediately must have been taxing on her, both monetary and management wise, yet speaking from first impressions, she’s off to a promising start. When you have an inviting store at a prime location, with good designs, price and quality, the formula is ultimately solvable on its own.
Atelier Fang debuts with three collections, Classic, Provocative and Tongue & Cheek, each distinct in their light. Exquisite materials ranging from horse hair to calf leather are sourced from Italy but the end product is made in China without compromising on quality of course.
While traversing round the store, I went back & forth through multiples decades, in particular the 80s & 90s. From beaded mules, which reminded me of traditional Peranakan shoes, to bright multi coloured platforms, each pair had a story attached, all awaiting the opportunity to be recited by its wearer. Not forgetting, there were the much loved spikes and some heel-less pairs as well, possibly to appease the fashion forward crowd, or perhaps just a genuine love for all things provocative. Ultimately, it was a disparate collection, highly evocative and timeless at the same time
Atelier Fang has it all.
#03-21A Mandarin Gallery
Prices range from SGD$219 to SGD$699
Kzeniya Oudenot | Elusive Visions
Occasionally we would hear about designers who either leave fashion school in the middle or have pursued a completely unrelated education/ career path before finding their calling in fashion. For this particular designer, it deviates to the latter. As a costume design graduate from Central Saint Martins, Kzeniya Oudenot has been involved with Alexander McQueen, Royal Opera House and the Scottish Ballet. Her desire for experimentation and innovation with materials gave her flight to her very own namesake accessory label, Kzeniya, based in London.
The current SS13 collection is nothing short of a subtle tribute to origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. I’ve gotten my hands dirty on some origami in the past and while I’m pretty good at creating the typical cranes and other obscure shapes, translating those concepts to a handbag was not even a fleeting thought.
When fashion infuses technology and various contraptions, it is the most enthralling result to witness. While, smart design has been purported to exist for ages, the taxing task of engineering better fabrics or uses for a material seems to perplex us nonetheless. It is likely that no matter how far we progress in society, technology wise, the idea of incorporating technology into fashion would always appear to be an elusive vision of the future, yet to be accomplished.
As experimentation runs deep in Kzeniya’s veins, collections of the future would definitely be one to watch. Laser cut leather and perspex plastic is simply the beginning. Who knows what techniques she would be using and what materials she would be fusing together.
Galaxies, Nebulae & Jewelry | By Invite Only
Growing up in a family with three older brothers, it was hard to escape the mystic world of science especially when every night there was a documentary on television. Flipping the channels was forbidden because, being the youngest I did not know better (entirely their opinion). Oh and the number of episodes of Rugrats I missed, far too many that it hurts to even think about.
There was once, the family watched a whole series of documentaries on the vast and seemingly vacuous ‘outer world’ or space and it left me romantically intrigued. Now, every time I reach for a topic on space, meteoroids, milky ways, stars or even planets, I get sucked in like how a black hole mysteriously does.
Upon realizing that By Invite Only was inspired by space, galaxies and specifically nebulae, It was hard not to gush about the collection here or I’d be doing my family a ‘dishonour’ (exaggeration but it could be true, maybe).
By Invite Only is no stranger to the world of crystals but cosmic endeavours on the other hand is a whole other
turf universe and designer, Trixie, has conquered it like a brave astronaut on Mars. Definitely not like the Howard Wolowitz and his episodes of wimpy cries.
While still in the direction of crystals, the purple, blue and dusty hues are reminiscent of the millions of tiny stars against the dark amethyst backdrop in space. It’s enthralling and as expected, it lured me in.
Remember how as kids, some of our parents would stick those glow in the dark galaxies on our bedroom ceilings? I never had that and I was always jealous of other kids. I dreamt of galaxies nonetheless and wondered what it’d be like to be floating around without any restraint which is akin to what I’d also like to feel down on Earth.
Perhaps, just maybe, if some dark cosmic power were to be on my side again, the collection might be able to mystically persuade my brothers into purchasing one, for me.
As much as we would liken space as a virtual realm, By Invite Only is also taking pre-orders for the collection through Instagram. Thumbs up for more digital involvement in retail and now to brainwash every other brand to cater to the online obsessed world.
To see the collection up close, take out your calendars and cross out November 17-18.
On a last note, forget about sticky nature trails, take a trip to your local planetatrium and explore the unexplored for a 360 degree visual titillation.
Carlo Rino, Refreshed.
No, you’re not turning blind, you don’t have to rub your eyes, keep calm, ‘cause this post is on Carlo Rino. I’ll be honest and mention that I’ve not exactly been a huge fan of Carlo Rino for various reasons. So when I was invited to their showroom, I was a little apprehensive but decided it would be good to reserve my opinions till I’ve seen what they have. Ideally, it’s always better to understand the brand before making pre-conceived judgements and boy am I relieved to say that the PR team has shed some light on me. Hallelujah anyone?
Carlo Rino in Singapore has more often than not been associated with the aunties, maybe it was the assumptions, maybe it was the insinuations I don’t know. For now, I can reassure you that with the direction they’re going at, it isn’t going to only be an auntie’s favourite. If you think about it, perhaps it was the competitive nature of the aunties to move up in life that they clamoured after Carlo Rino. The quality topped off with decent prices was definitely a plus point.
For A/W12, you can expect four new collections ranging from A Tartan Tale, Vintage Fairy Tale, Enigmatic Dainty Ditty and the Midnight Dreamy Links collection. I’m also pretty sure many of you would be lusting after the Fairy Tale collection, the print is gorgeous and carries that whole English school yard vibe with the tan straps.
Oh yes, of course there was the obligatory self-confession/ proclamation that I am and always will be a bagaholic.
Carlo Rino is changing (not completely yet, but baby steps) and for the better so whatever negative perceptions you have about the brand, you might want to reconsider altering them. You, young cosmopolitan ladies should give it a go.
On a side note, did you know that Carlo Rino is a Singaporean brand? I didn’t. So give more love to home grown labels!
MARNI S/S 2013 LIVESTREAM
Why of course we’re going to provide a livestream of Marni SS13 right here. Be sure to check back here on
23rd September at 4.30pm (Singapore time) for a front row look at one of the most celebrated labels!
Prints are not dying so I can’t wait to see what Marni comes up with this time!