Inspired by Singapore fashion influencer, Sarah Atiq's latest post featuring our Wren bucket bag in cobalt blue - we've put together a mood board of similar pieces to recreate her style. Enjoy !
1. Wren bucket bag in cobalt blue by Elyse & i - available online or in selected stockists
2. Fendi sunglasses - 54 mm retro sunglasses - available from Nordstrom.com
3. Chinti and Parker 'Grey Smile Cashmere Sweater' - available from Chintiandparker.com
4. Paul Andrew 'Imari' leather slingback pumps - available from Netaporter.com
5. Pleated metallic skirt - find similar at Zara or Topshop
Chinese communities around the globe will soon celebrate the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar, and welcome in the Year of the Fire Rooster once more. Known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, celebrations start on the eve of CNY and culminate with the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day of the following month. Living in Singapore, the playlist in a supermarket is as good as indicator as any that the lunar festival is upon us - literally from January 1st onwards (maybe even Boxing Day), the Christmas crooners are repetitively replaced by the tinkling chimes of Gong Xi, Gong Xi, the aisles are stocked full of abalone, pineapple cookies, lanterns decorate the ceilings and are of course up for sale, old Aunties sniff and inspect fancily packaged boxes or oranges and tangerines and pussy willow blooms in an array of vibrants pinks and reds line the floral stands.
Being born into the year of the Rabbit (wood being my specific element), I read with interest the predictions that are currently on display in our local mall. Given that my horoscope barometer is definitely in the lower Russell Grant gear - who I fondly recall dishing out astrological advice to me, a Cancer/Leo cusper, on Selina Scott's BBC breakfast sofa in my childhood - the frankness at which the asian zodiac advice was dolled out left me a little bit agog.
No softly approach with Chinese crystal gazing - be it about financial prosperity (or not!), whether or not this was a good year to start a family (pleased that I've already checked that one), how relationships with other animal signs would fair over the next year, down to how to feng shui certain rooms in your home. Yet, the one that got me smiling the most was that this is the year the stars tell me to get my teeth whitened. As I've been secretly yearning to do this for a long while, I am pleased to now have the astrological approval I've been waiting for. Watch out for my gleaming Hollywood white smile...
When there’s a good reason to celebrate, there’s always the need for a great outfit - especially for CNY. The traditional Chinese dress is called a Cheongsam or Qipao (pronounced chipao) - the narrow, side-closing sheath was made fashionable in the 1920’s by socialites and upper class women in Shanghai.
The Orient has been a source of inspiration for designers for as long as history has recorded fashion and the shape of the cheongsam has popped up on catwalks and enjoyed fashion reprisals or westernised variants from time to time. The 1960’s film ‘The World of Suzie Wong’, based on Richard Mason’s book starring Nancy Kwan, resulted in a rise of popularity for qipao style dresses - known then as ‘Suzie Wong’ dresses in the West. Tom Ford cited Maggie Cheung’s colourful cheongsams worn in the film, ‘In the Mood for Love’ (2000, by Wong Kar Wai) as a great source of inspiration for a yellow silk satin sequinned dress he created for his final season at Yves Saint Laurent in 2004. New York's Met show in 2015 (and their Gala ball, the annual party organised by Anna Wintour, where celebs vie for a ticket then get picked over by the fashion press for what they wore) looked back over China's influence on fashion in the costume exhibition 'China: Through the Looking Glass'.
Today, designers such as Ong Shunmugam’s modern, fresh interpretation of such this traditional style of dress keep it contemporary and wearable. I especially love her sets, with cropped tops and three-quarter length pants or skirts. The bold floral prints have an elegant 50’s Miami housewife appeal and her high neck cut-out dresses are bang up to date - demure with a hint of sexiness. These outfits can be styled for any occasion in the year’s calendar and are not restricted to CNY.
For the purposes of this Mood-Board, I’m opting for a highly worked Qipao by Shanghai Tang. The hefty price-tags - over eight thousand singapore dollars - reflects the heavily embellished nature of the dress and the fact that only ten pieces have been made. It’s inspiration might be ‘saddler Mongolian tapestry’ but with it’s short length, long zipped back and fine bead-work it is modern, imbues both rock star and red carpet elegance in one, sexy dress. Pair it with these Balenciaga sequin embellished satin pumps, a pair of fifites-chic Ben-Amun crystal earrings and the Elyse & i Iris Minaudière in metallic and you have one killer outfit to see in, and rule the roost this Chinese New Year.
SHOP THE LOOK:
1. Shanghai Tang Overall Beads Qipao - shanghaitang.com
2. Ben Amun Crystal Earrings - shopbop.com3. Elyse & i Iris Minaudiere bag in Metallic nappa with laser cut acrylic pattern - find it at Tangs, Tang Plaza, Orchard Road, SG, Level 2 or shop it here online
4. Balenciaga Sequin Embellished Satin Pumps - netaporter.com
You’re all skirt - be they maxi, midi, mini, pleated, printed, asymmetrical, textured, brightly coloured, striped, metallic or neutral, skirts of every conceivable kind have been seen on/off the runway, on celebs, bloggers and IG’ers or printed in the style pages in the past season. And it looks like this trend is here to stay.
Personally, skirts have always alluded me. With the exception of a pencil skirt, I’ve always been more of a pants or dress girl. Maybe it’s down to body shape issues - too afraid to wear a super short mini skirt? Skirts can accentuate your rear if ill-fitting so read - does my bum look big in this? Or is it that wearing a long skirt holds for me a slightly prim, I’m-dressing-like-my-mother association? Whatever, the issue has been, with so many pretty pleated options out there I am no longer skirting the issue (every pun intended) and determined to nail this trend forthwith.
For this Mood-Board series, let us focus on my favourite style - pleated skirts. Here are three different looks to transition out of summer to cooler climes or just take you from day to night to weekend. Combing through #pleatedskirt on instagram and pinterest, or just looking at the streetstyle shots from last week's NYFW, there are so many different and exciting ways to wear them. Channel a downtown cool vibe with pumps or sandals, sit pretty with a ballet-inspired look with patterned sweater and pastel pink skirt or make yours metallic and worthy of cocktail hour. Here are three suggested looks:
Look 1 - Skirt + Sweater + Sneakers
1. Be Parisian Rive Droite Sweatshirt 2. MSGM skirt from Matches Fashion 3. Thunder Minaudiere by Elyse &i 4. Riley Turquoise ring by Amber Sceats 5. Ash Magestic Sneakers
The most casual of the three looks but refined with a structured bag (our Thunder Minaudiere - a graphic printed snakeskin clutch/shoulder bag) and that skirt. MSGM’s sky blue striped panel pleated skirt, with retro, go-faster stripes is divine. It would look equally elegant dressed up but I’ve paired it with one of my favourite Instagram finds - Be Parisian. Cool, heavily tongue-in-cheek illustrated slogans adorn clothing and accessories centred on the “the Parisian...her look, her style, her jaded aspect, her grumpy mood, her snobbery, her rive-droite style...or rive-gauche style…” Check out their full collection here or if you are in Paris snap it up from iconic, Rive Gauche department store, Le Bon Marche. I’m starry-eyed about these Ash Magestic sneakers - a turquoise stone ring from Amber Sceats ties the look in nicely and you’re set for the weekend.
Look 2 - Nine-to-Five then out for Girls Night
1. Jack Wills Decklant Sleeveless Cotton Lace Shirt 2. Roksanda Silk Seersucker Skirt from MyTheresa.com 3. Percy Tote in Taupe by Elyse & i 4. Jimmy Choo Duke Suede Anklet boots from Netaporter.com 5. Elizabeth Cole Prater Earrings in Swarovski & glass beads
Let the skirt do the talking - the Roksanda Ashford silk seersucker skirt packs a glamorous punch with curving panels of sand, ivory, navy and a pop of pink on the back panel as added surprise element. With much dress-up/dress-down appeal, I’ve opted for a sleeveless cotton lace shirt from Jack Wills and tied the look together with soft grey booties from Jimmy Choo and the Elyse & i Percy tote in taupe. Finally, add these gorgeous hoops earrings by American jewellery designer Elizabeth Cole which perfectly pick up on the sandy notes from the skirt. I am lusting after so many of her ear candy which have an exquisite modern-heritage appeal - the Bobbi earrings are on my wish-list!
Look 3 - Be Bold in Black & Gold
1. Donna Ida x Jaeger Tatoo Me Jumper 2. Deepa Gurnani statement necklace from Shopbop.com 3. Marieke Minaudiere in Disco Gold by Elyse & i 4. Linea Paolo 'Brooke' Pump at Nordstrom 5. Velvet Midi Pleat Skirt in Gold at Topshop
Gucci’s metallic gold pleated skirt (see above photo) is sumptuous in its metallic silk-blend pleats but alas now sold out on netaporter.com. Metallics continue to be a versatile staple but as velvet is also a key trend in both apparel and accessories this Fall, this Topshop velvet pleated skirt in gold seemed like a great anchor for this look - and about a tenth of the price of the Gucci skirt!
Denim queen Donna Ida has teamed up with Jaeger with a capsule collection of denim and knitwear this season and I love the Tattoo Me sweater for it’s star detailing on the back. Pair with the double-sided Marieke Minaudière in Disco Gold and add this frivolous feathery statement necklace from Deepa Gurnani for a heavy-hitting black and gold ensemble.
J Crew's Fashion Director Jenna Lyons famously stated that "as far as I am concerned leopard is a neutral". I couldn't agree more and so complete the look with this pair of, on-trend, block-heeled printed pumps by Linea Paolo.
A friend’s Facebook post caused quite a stir recently after she pondered getting a pair of denim dungarees. It looked like maybe 85% of her female friends weighed in on the debate with polarising opinions - the majority were cheery go for its, you can carry it off comments but there were a few mid-life fashion crisis insinuations or gentle jibes about rocking her dungies one shoulder down, á la Demi Moore in the film Ghost.
So using a Carrie Bradshawism it got me to thinking about age-appropriate dressing and how now I fall into the - ahem latter end of - 35-44 age group, this is more of a relevant conversation. But, at what point are you deemed ‘too old’ for a certain piece of clothing or trend? Some fashions just take a few seasons to penetrate into the mainstream (who can forget Meryl Streep's brilliant character Miranda Priestley's 'cerulean sweater' monologue? Watch it here). Let's face it, no one thinks you are Pepsi and Shirley backing singer if you add a neon-pop accessory anymore than playsuits have become as mainstream as they were in their seventies heyday.
So is the resistance to wearing dungarees a trend-led rationale or is it ageist? Dungarees have been around for a good few seasons now but still seem to divide us into love-em-or-hate-em camps. Maybe the hesitation comes if you already ‘did’ this look earlier in life and it just seems inappropriate to wear it now. One of my earliest fashion memories, is wearing a hand-me-down pair of bright red Osh Kosh dungarees until they were so short, my thrifty mother chopped them into 'shortalls' (yes, that does exist as an actual word). At university I recall a fondness for a terribly unflattering bottle green boiler suit style dungarees. And yet, I can’t help thinking that if I didn’t live in a country where humidity surpassed 85% on a daily basis then I would already be wearing a hole in the knees of a pair of denim dungies...
Fran from @thefashionlift LOVES her dungarees
Overalls have definitely been overhauled since Daisy Duke’s days. So I was pleased when my friend shared a fantastic picture sporting her new denims and doubly pleased that she’d gone for the same ones that I’d seen modelled by the lovely Fran Bacon from @thefashionlift which I’d sent over to her as ‘inspiration'.
So in celebration of the power of denim and for women who are not yet past their dungarees-sell-by-dates, this week's mood-board is anchored around a fabulous pair by Frame. A black top from Isabel Marant Etoile is a stark contrast but the pretty lace details softens the look. Add statement sneakers from Mollini with Elyse & i's striped Percy bag to complete the look. Finally, tie it all in with my favourite watch brand Cluse and cool accessories in the form of this gorgeous cocktail ring from Poppy & Maria and some horn-rimmed shades from Burberry. Credits and images below. Enjoy.
Credits & Image Sources:
1. "Rodge top" by Isabel Marant Etoile from Matches Fashion
2. "Antibes cropped stretch-denim overalls" by Frame from Net-a-porter
3. "Percy" tote in black + white by Elyse & i - shop it here
4. "Burberry Sunglasses" available from Zalora
5. "Piant" by Mollini statement sneakers available from their website here
6. "Minuit Gold/Midnight Blue" watch by Cluse available from their website here
7. "Blue Calci signature ring" by Poppy & Maria available from their website here