The New Chanel Première Watch 2013 A Piece Of Place Vendôme
An intuition of the moment, a sense of duration, the promise of eternity.
Founded in 1909, the House of CHANEL has long been synonymous with a classic simplicity that has stood the test of time. From the very first flacons of No. 5 sold only to select clients in 1919, the 2.55 bag that followed in 1929, to the tweed suits so fashion-forward in 1923 they barely got two lines of copy from reporters then, each of Coco’s ‘firsts’ for her beloved CHANEL have gone on to become recognizable icons of cult proportions.
Lesser known, but no less historic is the “Première”; the first watch created by the House in 1987. Paying homage to Place Vendôme where Coco once lived and where the CHANEL fine jewellery flagship store now stands, the rectangular shape with cut corners of the watch face also echoes the couturier’s taste for simplicity.
Admittedly, I belong to a generation that prefers to tell time via my mobile phone. How we got to become this way is a mystery to me; one moment in the ‘80s we all had some form of timekeeping device strapped across our wrists and *poof* fast forward to 2013 and we’re still loading our arms with a myriad of accessories - just that we don’t require them to tell time anymore.
I was fully convinced that this was gonna be the way for me until my first encounter with the “Première”. Honestly, I can be pretty immovable when it comes to style logic. My accessories and timekeeping devices are wholly separate issues, and somewhere in my head, I’ve convinced myself that this division is to be kept sacred thankyouverymuch. But anyhow, watches (other than the huge manly ones that weigh a ton) can be accessories and accessories are fashion and fashion is fashion, and so I decided to approach this with an open mind.
Seeing the “Première” in its glass case, one step removed, is one thing, having one in your hand; laid across your wrist is another. Encased in steel, white gold or yellow gold with a mother of pearl or black lacquered dial, I was asked to put on a pair of black velvet gloves and pick out my favourite.
Suddenly the white mother of pearl dial set in a steel case with 56 of the tiniest brilliant-cut diamonds didn’t seem so foreign and mechanical to me. If you haven’t an eye for details, or aren’t so familiar with the geography of Place Vendôme, it’s quite easy to miss it entirely. But that’s where its charm truly lies - in its understated simplicity and versatility. Luxury doesn’t have to be ostentatious, and beauty exists in everything, if you look hard enough.
Over the past 26 years since its creation, the “Première” has been taken on a journey of evolutionary proportions. It had its steel chain bracelets interlaced with black leather ribbons for its 10th Anniversary in 1997, then later encrusted with baguette and brilliant-cut diamonds and strung on a cultured-pearl bracelet 10 years later on its 20th Anniversary. In 2012, CHANEL watchmaking history was made when the mechanical Flying Tourbillon was produced in collaboration with Audemars Piguet.
In spite of the myriad evolutions and interpretations of the “Première” on a linear timeline, it’s really quite impossible to place a finger on the order of their inspiration. Time is inconsequential, and each is destined to stand the test of time. It is La Montre Première.
Salvatore Ferragamo brings colour-blocking back in style with its Spring Summer 2013 Men’s Collection, inspired by the vibrant Los Angeles art scene depicting the energy and radiance of the cosmopolitan city.
Emanating bright hues and pastel colours like Spearmint and Limoncello, the collection mixes sportswear colours with crisp tailored cuts for a smart casual look. Trenchcoats and blazers are endowed with contrasting piping and paired with bright carrot-cut trousers and colour-blocking running shoes.
What I really like about the collection is that there are quite a few mix-and-match options. Translucent, knitted sweaters are paired with pictorial-patterned shirts and tie for a fun, layered look. Or play it safe with the House’s white cotton blazers with flashes of watercolours on the lapels, armholes and pocket linings.
While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this collection’s juxtaposition of bright citrus colours will definitely be appreciated by rakes and editors who grace the hallowed carpets of fashion weeks around the world.
It’s been a long while since my trusty Casio watch died on me. Even after a change of battery at my regular neighbourhood watch shop, it didn’t manage to revive from a deep slumber having served me well thoughout the 4 years of my active use. And that can only mean one thing. I’m in the market for a brand new watch.
Being the Fashionisto Fashionide me, I didn’t want to go for just another simple black watch. Not that a mundane run-of-the-mill timepiece would suffice but I was seeking and waiting for something special (like I always do). Something that has got that extra fashion edge and preferbly a little quirky.
Meet the latest G-Shock by Maison Martin Margiela.
A collaboration that comes hot on the heels after the much talked about one with H&M this fashion timepiece is a celebration of the watch’s 30th anniversary and is based on the original Casio GA-300 model design. Besides having all the usual G-Shock functions which I’m sure we’re all very familiar with, it also comes with an additional removable Margiela silver leather band that is worn with the greyish metallic watch. Each having it’s own unique serial number, the iconic 0-23 Maison Martin Margiela stamp is engraved on the back.
Retailing now at about US$300 each with only 3000 pieces available at 300 retail outlets worldwide, let’s just hope Silver Surfer brought in some pieces at our physical stores because Opening Ceremony had already sold out their 10 coveted pieces if you do the maths.
Gucci fans are in for a treat as the Italian luxury house holds a two-day exhibition of archival pieces paying tribute to its signature Flora motif. Held from 23rd to 24th March 2013, the showcase will be making its way from Gucci’s famed Gucci Museo in Florence to the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands.
Looking like an illustration straight from a children’s fairytale, the Flora motif was created in 1966 when Rodolfo Gucci commissioned artist Vittorio Accornero to create an original silk scarf with a floral pattern, as a gift for Princess Grace Kelly when she visited the Via Monte Napoleone store.
What resulted was an illustration featuring 43 varieties of flowers, plants and insects which has captured succinctly the grace, innocence and elegance of the late Princess Grace Kelly. The Flora Icon has since become an iconic motif of Gucci’s designs, used in various product lines ranging from ready-to-wear mini dresses to its handbags and accessories.
The Exhibition presents a curated selection of original Flora scarves, drawings from illustrator Vittorio Accornero dating back to the 60’s and 70’s, women’s ready-to-wear pieces including mini dresses, blouses and gowns, handbags and unique porcelain items, all carrying the iconic Flora print.
Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen Spring-Summer 2013
It isn’t often you get great pictures of a celebrity on a red carpet and no I’m not talking about those paparazzi pictures of them on the streets but actress Amanda Seyfried who doesn’t look miserable at the premiere of “Les Misérables” in New York wearing an Alexander McQueen gown with a gold embroidered bodice from the spring-summer 2013 bee collection.
Here’s what she said about her look: “I’m wearing Alexander McQueen because I don’t normally like to or get to wear princess dresses, so you know when I get the chance to, I like to wear dresses that do make me feel princessy, like this.”
Pairing the dress with a tortoise-shell plexi belt with a gold buckle and a skull box clutch, the styling here is just perfect! Simple, classy and not in anyway over the top, Ilooove how her braidedhairdo fits very well with the whole regal look. The contrast with the black skirting flatters her skin and she blinged it up with some sparkles from Harry Winston.
Alice Dellal Returns In The New Chanel Boy Bag Campaign
They say that behind every successful man is a supportive woman but I think that behind every successful woman is a classic Chanel bag. In rides Alice Dellal who once again stars as the face of the new Chanel Boy bag advertising campaign for Spring-Summer 2013. Shot by Karl Lagerfeld on location at the La Ferme de la Chapelle in Fontaine-Chaalis, this monochromatic campaign is a hark back to an old photograph Coco Chanel had took with the muse and love of her life, Boy Capel, played by male model Jake White who is the dapper horse handler along side the punk British heiress. I must say that this range of bags has been quite a hit since it was first introduced for Fall-Winter 2011 (with many of the pieces reportedly being sold out.)
Based on the original hunting cartridge style favoured by Mademoiselle Chanel, the Chanel Boy bag carries the androgynous appeal the visionary is widely known for. Having once used men’s undergarment fabrication to make dresses, Coco Chanel had this very boyish attitude to fashion that has since become the very spirit of the luxury house. You could say that she got this mode of thinking from her Boy, which explains the name of the collection. Coming into it’s own as yet another iconic bag design in the making, some pieces are so masculine that even men have taken to carrying the larger versions of the bag and pulling it off with much pizazz.
Dolce & Gabbana Fall-Winter 2013 A Slice of Sicily
It’s unfortunate that I’ve never been to the island of Sicily, or even come close to the Mediterranean, the sea in which it is situated. But season after season, I feel as if I’m being increasingly acquainted with her rich and unique culture steeped in the arts, music, literature and architecture. Last season, the island’s handicraft traditions were literally woven into the collection, from dresses made from raffia sacks to their closing number - a corset-and-crinoline combo made entirely of bent cane, like in the classic baskets that can be found all over Sicily.
This season, the designers have turned their attention to a more religious subject - The Cathedral of Monreale. Built between 1172 and 1185 under the commission of Norman King William II of Altavilla, mosaics cover the upper portions of the walls of the sanctuary and the nave. Covering a surface area of almost 7.600 square metres, the Cathedral presents the most extensive mosaic artwork in all of Italy, surpassing even that of Venice’s San Marco.
Drawing inspiration from the mosaic artwork of local artists from Byzantium and Venice of old, the religious figures and scenes depicted were deftly translated onto organza, double-stretch crepe and brocade. That wasn’t all though. Coloured stones and heavy beading were also incorporated to lend weight and 3D-effect to more than a few dresses and separates.
As much as I enjoyed what was presented immensely, it’s hard to imagine how a collection so deeply steeped in Baroque religious traditions will translate commercially. Will the concept still be able to stand on its own when removed from its larger context?
Then again, when you invest in a Dolce & Gabbana piece, it isn’t really just about the garment, is it? It’s about the acquisition of a slice of Dolce & Gabbana’s Sicily. So yes, even if it’s just the jewel-encrusted golden headpiece, or the gilded shoe with vines and little pink flowers all twirled up in it, it’s not hard to allow yourself to be swept up in their romantic lyricism.
Bottega Veneta Spring-Summer 2013 The Art Of Collaboration With Peter Lindbergh
Urban, rustic, smoky and slightly romantic. This latest Spring-Summer 2013 campaign shot by Peter Lindbergh plays exactly like a movie. Known for his black and white cinematic approach to photography, Lindbergh chose to go with a vintage colour palette of dusty peach, muted yellow, blues and red anchored in stronger shades of greys, black and brown. A continuation of a long standing series of collaborations Bottega Veneta has had with 18 other photographers such as Collier Schorr, Nick Knight, Steven Meisel and Annie Leibovitz, this campaign is shot on location at the set of the Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Featuring Danish model Freja Beha Erichsen and French male model Baptiste Radufe, I can’t help but sense the unspoken relationship between these two leads. A quiet connection.
The floral prints and nature themed embellishments for the clothing offers a much softer appeal and contrasts deeply with the harder metal and concrete elements in the background. There is something very relaxed about this collection. And like everything the brand is known for, the Bottega Veneta man and woman here is not somebody who craves attention but is secure and comfortable in his or her own skin, wealth and status. There is nothing to scream about. Only the small whisper and murmur of understated elegance as seen through the lenses of this German filmmaker and photographer.
Descending gracefully upon the candlelit staircase of the Paris Opera House, a woman in a pale silk gown with two strands of pearls around her neck catches the eye. Her wide-brimmed hat hides her gaze from curious onlookers, adding to the mystique of the elegant lady.
This was the encounter which inspired French designer Pierre Balmain to create his iconic fragrance IVOIRE in 1979 - the last perfume he would craft personally and one that remained highly sought-after throughout the 1980s. The maison has worked with Robertet designers to contemporize the well-loved perfume, alluding to the globetrotting Parisian woman who is elegant, trendy and a connoisseur of all things luxurious.
Acting as visual extensions to the fragrance you’ll find that Balmain’s approach to creating their new Spring-Summer 2013 ready-to-wear is also deeply influenced by the mystique elegance of the Balmain woman. This collection presented under the creative direction of Olivier Rousteing, showcased a splendid repertoire of graphic harlequin and basket woven raffia dresses inspired by Cuban interior furnishing and vintage architecture. The highlight would be the black, white and yellow raffia dresses inspired by wicker chairs - a structural feat in itself judging by the gorgeous texturised, 3-dimensional look. Another key look, pieces donning the black and white harlequin prints, expressed strong femininity in a mood between disco ball retro and jester cheeky.
Oscar de la Renta Fall-Winter 2013 The Middle Ground
It would have been a lot more fun if we hadn’t gotten wind of Galliano’s three-week tenancy at Oscar de la Renta so soon. When I finally got to see the images of de la Renta’s highly-anticipated Fall/Winter 2013 collection, I couldn’t help but search for Galliano in the Galliano-de la Renta partnership, immediately forming opinions in my mind based quite solely on this (not so) little fact.
It gave me thrills to find Galliano in the wisps of artfully dishevelled hair that peeked out from under the cloche hats, in the inky greased lids, in the waists artfully cinched with belts to create a silhouette reminiscent of the Dior bar jacket. And unexpectedly in the form of hot pink gloves on a palette of dusty muted brown and gold. I do miss the Englishman so.
But there was a lot more of de la Renta and what he does best. The show is still his after all - classy red carpet-worthy gowns that will undoubtedly withstand the flame of the toughest critic. They were beautiful in their simplicity, and executed wisely without a hint of the usual Galliano theatrics, bells and whistles.
Altogether, there were moments in which I felt that both designers had been able to meet on some middle ground to create coherent looks that showed off what they each did best, and unfortunately others where I was left wanting. I couldn’t quite understand the violet satin pants-brown t-shirt-and black chiffon cape combo, try as I had. To make matters worse, the cape came with a hood, like little black riding hood, and the entire look was accessorized by a chunky iridescent-blue necklace.
Still, no one can deny de la Renta his moment when took the final bow with Magdalena Frackowiak and Karlie Kloss in voluminous ball gowns with gold bullion embroidery on silk faille in bright pink and purple respectively. Absolutely breathtaking.
Bvlgari Serpenti Collection 2013 Enter The Year Of The Snake
Luxury house Bvlgari is celebrating the Year of the Snake in a big way with the Serpenti collection. Enrapturing me with its intricate detailing and winding curves, these pieces crosses elegant femininity with reptilian chic and are iconic of the luxury house since the 1940s.
For timepieces, the strap takes the form of a gem-encrusted, cascading vertebrae wrapped around the wearer’s wrist with the potent “snake” head seated prominently on top with unsettling poise. What I find interesting is how the different segments are joined together to create an opulent spiral.
The highlight of this range would have to be the one made of yellow gold and adorned with 309 diamonds and 81 emeralds for its swirling coils. What appears to be the serpent’s head with two malachites eyes is actually a carefully concealed compartment which can be flipped open to reveal a charming time face.
For jewelry, Bulgari has pared the concept down to create stunningly simple gold bracelets and rings with a snake head made of diamonds, mother-of-pearl, rubelite, peridot or onyx. Statement pieces include a 74.20 carat diamond and white gold necklace which rests seductively on the neck and a five-coil white gold bracelet adorned with 208 cabochon rubies and pave diamonds.
That’s more than enough bling right there to make for a very luxurious contriction!
Valentino Spring-Summer 2013 A Silver Sixpence In Her Shoe
Snakeskin, plastic, and an open Nehru collar sounds like a dangerously tacky combination for a Spring/Summer 2013 trench coat from the house of Valentino. But if you’re familiar with the kind of magic Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli weave, you’d have no cause for worry. The elements came together seamlessly, creating a piece that was at once innovative yet wearable.
The sheer weight of helming a fashion house with a storied history has been known to cause many a designer to stumble back into the archives to produce collections of mere re-issues. But with this designer duo, the archives only serve as a strong point of reference. While the lace, chiffon and delicate details are instantly recognizable as signatures Mr. Garavani left at his beloved Valentino, the rest is modern interpretation. How would you explain the unexpected strips of python on a nude chiffon dress with a pretty little peter-pan collar otherwise?
In every collection, if there’s something I can look forward to, and even expect, it’s craftsmanship. It has never been sacrificed at the expense of innovation or experimentation. From the opening number; a black slip-dress hand-tacked to leave just a sliver of skin exposed, to the deep red puffed-sleeve jumpsuit that felt simultaneously both vintage and modern, I saw that simplicity and intricacy can only come together beautifully when bound by exquisite craftsmanship.
Here’s to a collection of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
Alexander McQueen Spring-Summer 2013 Death Is Like Bittersweet Honey
SOMEBODY HELP ME!!! I’ve been so badly I mean fashionably stung all over, my eyes are tearing with honey, my lips are swollen shut and my tongue is left with this bittersweetness, I don’t even know where to begin with for this Alexander Mcqueen spring/summer 2013 collection.
And this bittersweetness has also got to do with his death. Exactly 3 years on, I can’t help but notice the connection between his last “Plato’s Atlantis” runway show and this with the similar use of a video backdrop and wash white glossiness for the now honeycomb patterned runway. Sarah Burton has certainly held together the fashion beehive with her royal pudding as the new McQueen bee and averted a Colony Collapse Disorder.
In some ways, this collection is a tribute to his life and death. A fashion reflection of what he represented: the hardworking fashion bee brimming with the most fantastical pollen he would bring back to satisfy our appetite for extravangance. Filling our eyes tummies with the sweetest inspiration he could think of and then creatively weave a honeycomb of desire with his fabrics.
And like those feelings we might have for him and his passing, there is a mellow bitterness to the sweet sexiness of this collection. An edgy bitterness that makes the honey so much more alluring and tasteful - not overly sweet - but just that right amount of waspish eroticism that will leave you coming back for more!
Much of the graphic honeycomb jacquards you see for the runway looks had been toned down to a more subtle black on black print for the look book collection. The tortoise-shell choker here elogates the neck and with the molded bodices and belts, they exaggerate the figure making for a heritage silhouette that is more elegant and unique.
Perhaps fashion is an ornate jar of the most addictive potent honey. When all your life you’ve been buzzing around and working insanely hard just to buy yourself some exquisite honey with your money, the ultimate reward you can give thou fashion bee is a bittersweet “death” decked the latest Alexander McQueen regalia.