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Styled by Sarah

I love to see how people style their Elyse & i bags - not only is it a thrill to see something that I've created from sketch to stitched seam being enjoyed by others, but it is a real pleasure to see the different ways the bags come to life in use.  A perfectly poised product shot is one thing but seeing a bag in action - full to the brim with your wallet, keys, lipstick, notebook and phone - is quite something else.  Singapore fashion blogger, Sarah Atiq, recently shared pictures on her instagram page (@sarahatiq) and website (read article here) of how she wore the bucket bag, the Wren in cobalt blue - set against a colourful backdrop in her native Qatar, the photos are fabulous.

Bright blue can be a tricky colour to pair but Sarah styles it effortlessly with a metallic and neutral palette which works really well in 'popping' out the cobalt blue of the bag.  Sarah loves to mix up high street finds with luxury items and I adore her choice of an affordable on-trend, metallic pleated skirt from Zara, with a cute grey sweater, against the ink blue luxe leather bag and stylish, tortoiseshell Fendi shades.  I'm envious how she effortlessly carries off a pleated skirt.

The Wren bucket bag closes with a drawstring which opens up fully to reveal the beautifully unlined calf leather - a trick to keeping the bag super light.  As you can see the short strap has been hand-woven with 'whip' stitches and long loopy tassels set this bag aside from the crowd.   When life is too busy, go hands-free with the adjustable shoulder-to-crossbody strap as demonstrated by Sarah above. 

Head over to Sarah's website to read her write up of this bag and if you live in Singapore then you can find the Wren Bag in either Cobalt Blue or Hot Red at the following stores:

- Tangs, Tang Plaza, 310 Orchard Road, Singapore (open daily)

- The Attaby Collective (The Ac) - 420 Joo Chiat Road, 427641(open Mon-Saturday, 10am til 8pm)

- The W Store, W Hotel, 21 Ocean Way, Sentosa, 098374 (open daily check website for times)

Or trust your instinct - or Sarah's - and order it online today as we ship globally.  Head to the homepage, sign up for our newsletter to get 10% off.

PS Want to steal her style?  Head over here to see our latest moodboard inspired by Sarah's styling!

Steal Her Style - Sarah Atiq

Feline Fabulous - Rouge Closet & Stylist Licqoo x Elyse & i

 

Image credits @rougecloset and @travis055

There is never a dull moment in Hong Kong.  The [insert-often steep] streets buzz, the cultural mash up of old Chinese/Colonial buildings next to new/modern skyscrapers is fascinating just as the volume of buildings seemingly on top of each other is staggering.  Breathing in the fresh air from the top of Peak, chowing down on a char siew bun, wind kissing your cheek on the Star Ferry or cruising the surrounding islands on a junk feels paradoxically un-urban.  Teeming bars in Lan Kwai Fong or Wan Chai would testify that this is a city that stands up to the tagline 'never sleeps'.  You know that someone, somewhere is having a party.  

Hong Kong born and bred blogger Ruby Kwan's instagram feed is one that I've been following for a while.  She is a banker by day and blogger by night/weekend.  Her personal style blog is a reflection of her fashion loves be it for a corporate look or something more relaxing to kick off your heels in (or should I say don more fabulous, taller ones) post-work.  She mixes trends with big name labels and under the radar ones too.  Her chief stylist is a furry-purry cat called Licqoo - and I must admit to 'feline' fabulous at seeing our clutch in frame with him.  Absolutely, all puns intended.

What a thrill to see the gorgeous Ruby making our Nell in dark navy blue snakeskin her clutch du jour in so many shots on her instagram, facebook and website feeds.   The Nell is an exquisite bag which has a hand-crafted interlocking knot embellishment made from piped and plaited leather.  This emblem has become our signature and it is wonderful to see it paired in two contrasting styles - demonstrating it's total versatility as a bag.  In one look, it takes a more downtown feel as Ruby wears it, urban-style, with an Acne shirt dress, Givenchy brogue heels and skinny cow-hair belt with an appropriately city-scape HK backdrop.

In another, she is in top-to-toe blue with an Alice & Olivia fifties-esque pouf skirt with lace panels, offset by floral print Givenchy shoes and glasses and complimented by our little blue clutch.  The feel is softer and proves it is an easy-to-style piece, your go-to-clutch for all and any occasion. 

The backdrop for the main shoot is - in their words - the food and lifestyle playground, Jouer, in Wan Chai.   Their signature are mini-macarons.  I'm a bit of a macaron obsessive (lets face it, who isn't?) so I'm intrigued by the unusually savoury taste pairings of their retro collection - Chinese Vinegar + Ginger, Mango Pomelo, Kaya + Salt or HK style milk tea - and cannot wait to head on over next time I'm in town.

For now, check out Rouge Closet's blog to see these gorgeous photos and read Ruby's article or head on over to the Nell navy blue and order yours today!

- image credits @rougecloset @travis055
- Click for Rouge Closet's Instagram Feed, Blog or Facebook page
- Nell in dark navy snakeskin can be located here
- Jouer, is located at G/F 1 Sau Wa Fong, Wanchai, Hong Kong

 

 

 

 

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Book Club

Savannah - the inspiration behind our latest bag!

 

Last week I was in Bali sourcing materials and working on some new designs.  It was a fleeting trip but as I was travelling without my children I was able to do a rare thing - read a book.  Now, for people that know me, they will be aware of how I am more likely to be seen delving into a Donna Hay magazine than scouring the latest Richard & Judy Book List for my next read.   I don’t really ‘do’ book reading.  There I said it.  Unlike my mother and sister who are book worms extraordinaire, I’ve never really been into reading and joke that I’m more likely to start a Box Set Club than join a Book Club.  

I think it might be to do with the fact that I read, very, v-e-r-y slowly and so starting and then finding time to finish [insert three other time-impacting reasons here: my two kids and running my own business] can take months.  I’m not sure why I’m such a slow reader but think it is to do with needing to absorb everything, drink in each and every word on the page.  My sister has been known to get through 5 novels on the 12 hour flight over from London to Singapore.  To me, this is unfathomable.  While at school, my father was so worried about my snail-pace-reading that he borrowed some kind of curious reading machine that had a metronome-type scroller you could set at different speeds, with the idea of teaching you to read faster and faster.  Sorry Dad but it didn’t really work.

A luxurious free evening, couple of flights and solo dining meant that I was finally able to finish my dusty bedside read which had been ordered months ago (via free global shippers the brilliant Book Depository) - the book in question was not a novel or crime thriller but department store MD Ed Burstell's memoir 'At Liberty - from rehab to the front row'. 

It is a fascinating read and charts his epic career in fashion and retail from the eighties until now.  His journey from Florida party-boy to a humble Macy’s spritzer to Managing Director of Liberty of London is far from conventional and totally inspiring.  He was a heroin addict and had two near-fatal overdoses before these 'wake-up calls' drove him to forge a career in retail.  From Macy's he goes on to share his experiences as a buyer at Bloomingdales, then to running and turning around Henri Bendel to his catwalk encounters at the prestigious, luxury store Bergdorf Goodman ...gulp for air...before flying over the pond to Liberty of London which he would soon end up running.

The book is intriguing not only for his anecdotes with so many of the great and good of the fashion world but equally for his take on how events in history have shaped, influenced and affected consumer buying.  From the amusing (if now baffling) appeal of pot-pourri in the late 80's, to the devastating affects following 9/11 and the 2008 stock market crash, the rise and rise of the super-expensive IT bags to pin pointing the turning point when department store 'sales' went from being a bi-annual affair to being dangerously close to year-round.   He is doubtless a skilled raconteur and the book is peppered with stories and experiences which are both funny, earnest and often so self-deprecating they defy his clear, natural ability at retail. 

Even though his perspective is coming from the stance of a buyer, so much of what he wrote made sense to me as a small brand that I wished I had carried a fluoro pen with me to make notes in the margins.   I would urge anyone who has even the tiniest interest in fashion to read his memoir. 

Travelshopa post

Burstell talks a lot about the theatre of retail and also how important it is to have a great story to tell.  One of our latest stories is connected to a new little cross body bag called the Savannah.   I've designed this bag as a mini travel companion with a clever in-built wallet and multiple compartments.  I envisage taking this on our summer holiday when I need easy access to all of our passports and papers but a much bigger bag on my back carrying all the children’s in-flight necessities.  

The naming of this bag is somewhat humbling too.  Our good friend Nick, himself an ex-forces chap, wanted to use his 40th birthday celebration as a way of raising money for a charity that was close-to-his heart, Help for Heroes -  which supports thousands of brave men and women and their families from the Armed Forces.    

So rather than the usual merriment, pomp and ceremony for ‘big birthday’ celebrations, we all had to get dressed up as one of our ‘Heroes’ and party the night away at their house.   I went as Farrah Fawcett as I can't resist a big back-combing blow dry (and had a green-goddess jump suit to hand)!

In order to raise funds for the charity there was a silent auction for items ranging from a night in a Bangkok hotel to four lads hosting a BBQ dressed as the 'Butlers in Budgies' (well done to my husband for stepping up for this challenge!!!).   The naming of a bag was another prize and a lovely lady called Renee bid the highest amount for this opportunity.  This Super Mom has four beautiful daughters and chose to name this bag after her youngest, the adorable Savannah.  The night raised over over 7000 SGD for the charity which was brilliant.  I invited Savannah and her Mum along to our Isetan pop up recently for a photoshoot - see above! 

Hurry though, as the Marine colour combo is almost sold-out!

- View and purchase our gorgeous Savannah bag in all-navy blue or marine HERE

- Find more about Ed Burstell's memoir, 'At Liberty', here and order online from the Book Depository by clicking here

- Read this Beach Polo Chic post by Travelshopa featuring our Savannah bag HERE

- Polaroids Designed by Freepik

 


 

Bloomin' Botanicals

 

This week sees the start of the great floral spectacular that is the Chelsea Flower Show.    It is a joyously British time of year and an opportunity to see the Queen in a lovely pastel coloured hat and Alan Titschmarsh in his finery as opposed to his usual gardening gear.  The first ever flower show organised by the Royal Horticultural Society was over a hundred years ago in 1913.  Held in the grounds of those familiar red-coated Chelsea Pensioners - the Royal Hospital London - it is still the most prestigious flower show in the UK despite now not being the biggest - a mantel that has gone to the Hampton Court Flower show.

The grounds of the Royal Hospital are transformed into another world(s) with gardeners from around the world competing to present the best most imaginative gardens.  Some boasting well being with plants with healing properties (A Modern Apothecary for St John's Hospice), Nick Bailey's ‘The Winton Beauty of Mathematics', "is a celebration of the beauty to be found in the mathematics and algorithms that underpin all plants, growth and life." (source RHS website) One of my favourites (from the pictures I have seen online I must point out) is the clever Garage Garden by Artisans Gardens and designer Kazuyuki Ishihara.  If all urban planning factored this clever integration of plant and real life, the world would be so much prettier.  

Garage Garden by Artisan Gardens designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara

So in celebration of all things botanical, I have put together a feature based loosely on this flora and fauna theme - albeit with a slight tropical edge.  Featuring some gorgeous decorations and knick-knackery for home, jewellery, bags (well of course), clothes and fragrances.  And while many of us won't have a chance to get to the Chelsea Flower Show in person, see the links below for a link to the many beautiful gardens on display this year.  And lucky for those of us residing in Singapore we are  blessed to have our very own Botanical Gardens and from the 28th May til June 5th, for 'Heritage Week', there are tons of (free!) activities (for kids and adults), concerts, plant sales and talks to attend. Details below.  Enjoy XOXO

Bloomin' Botanicals

Click above product to view in a larger size.  Shopping and image source credits as follows, starting top left and working clockwise:

1) Indi Nyah - a gorgeous range of candles, body lotions and hand washes with divine smells.  Singapore based company.

2) Have year-round flowers in bloom with a potted silk plant or other flowers from Silk Flowers Singapore

3) Buy original antique floral prints available from Panteek

4) Be bold with your bag colour choices - choose our Suki Snakeskin in lotus pink or the Nell Calf in canary yellow.

5) Find (free) vintage botanical images to make into lovely pictures like this one from Pintrest / Swivel Chair Media

6) Uniqlo and Liberty of London have teamed up to offer a range of adult and children's clothing using their iconic prints.  Shop it here.

7) Add some flutter to your bag with one of our Get Knotted Pompom or Tassel keyrings/bag charms.  Available in lots of different colourways here.

8) Search Pintrest or Vintage Printable for free images to download like these butterflies.

9) Aviaria Coasters from Cluny Court's Bungalow 55 - available in store or online.

10) Miller Harris perfumes, colognes and candles are available from their website and stores.

11) Alex Monroe's quintessentially British jewellery is available online here - he is offering 25% off selected lines in celebration of the Chelsea Flower Show.

The illustration of the tropical flowers and leaves featured in this post were designed by Freepik.

Chelsea Flower Show - read more about it here

Singapore Botanical Gardens - read more about it hereHeritage Week runs from May 28th to June 5th - with free concerts, performances, free entry to the Orchid garden, plant sales, free arts and crafts for children as well as talks too.  Don't miss it!

 

 

 

 

Sock It To ‘Em - Red Carpet Style

The old adage of losing socks in the laundry doesn’t really stand up in a country where wearing socks is confined to school kids, city slickers or gym goers.  I have certainly spent the last four and half years pretty much barefoot or in sandals/flip-flops.  My husband might protest and confirm the saying’s validity given the number of partner-less socks in his drawer.  No, instead of losing socks, my infuriation comes in the disappearance of what Americans call bobby pins, or what we Brits called kirby grips - those little hair slides that keep your hair invisibly in place.  An item that is sold and packaged by the dozen, but a package that seems to have mysteriously emptied whenever you reach for one in your hour of hair need.

As I am both growing my hair and simultaneously fighting the frizz caused by Singapore’s unyielding humidity (good for pores and keeping skin youthful - not great for having a sleek barnet) - the evaporation of these little hair heroes is a menace.  Much like socks, I wonder where they go?  Is there a Bermuda triangle full of singular socks and a bountiful booty of hair grips?  I leave you to ponder this yourself.

Sales of bobby pins must have shot up last week as Hollywood’s beautiful and best posed, strutted and selfied their way down the red carpet.  Incidentally, “to selfie” cannot yet be a verb as my spellcheck is angrily underlining ‘selfied’ in red.  However, the word ‘selfie’ was the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year in 2013 (collective sigh of woe).  My personal favourite ‘do’ was girl-of- the-moment Alicia Vikander’s.  An ethereal updo (by hairstylist Christopher Naselli) which complimented her angelic, white Louis Vuitton column dress perfectly.  I adore the dress’ cross-strap back and its long, linear hanging pleats.  I cannot wait to go and see The Danish Girl which stars Brit wonder Eddie Redmayne.

Image credits: Christopher Naselli/Instagram

Another trend that I pleasingly noted was the presence of the silver minaudière clutch.  As a loyal Downtown Abbey fan, I could not help but gasp in wonder at the delightful Joanne Froggatt’s steel blue Reem Acra dress.  Its plunging neckline and full skirt was reminiscent of a yesteryear Hollywood glamour - what a full circle transformation from the dowdy uniform worn by her TV character Anna Bates!  She complimented the look with a simple silver clutch bag - oh how I would have loved that to have been our silver Marieke Minaudière - Joanne or Joanne’s stylist if you are reading this please get in touch as I’m sure we must be (distantly) related as my father’s middle name is Froggatt and perhaps you’d like to wear one of our bags for the OSCARS or BAFTA’s if you are going?!

Image credits: Joanne Froggatt/Instagram

Kate Hudson chose to highlight her svelte physique and enviable abs in a shimmery blush Michael Kors cut out dress.  Her golden locks tustled onto her shoulders, diamonds sparkled from her ears and she clutched - yep another - structured silver purse.  The dress silhouette teased you into thinking it was a two piece bandeau + skirt from the front.  Yet, the back told a different story - revealing it as a one-piece cut-out dress.  A lesson in risqué versus demure with its choker neckline, to-the-floor length juxtaposed with cheeky cut outs to midriff, shoulders, hips AND leg slit.  Of all the ladies to carry off this look, it is surely Kate Hudson.


Image credits: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP via Forbes

No one does the leggy look quite like J.Lo - she absolutely stunned in a canary yellow Giambattista Valli Haute Couture design, with its thigh high split and that colour made her golden skin shimmer.  While the split might be high, the risqué element was tempered by the cape sleeves and high neckline.  The look was finished off with glossy hair, a red lip, an eye-watering amount of diamonds, sparkling silver shoes and yep you got it, a sparkling silver clutch bag.

Image credits:  Getty / Jason Merritt via Popsugar

So calling on all stylists, please note we have a gorgeous, red-carpet worthy minaudière in our collection - the Marieke.  Available in Disco Gold and Silver and suitable for all occasions - lunches, weddings, bar mitzvahs, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Oscars, Bafta’s…please do get in touch! 

FOOT NOTES

Pose like a Red Carpet Pro - ELLE has summarised the most flattering stances and poses from Hollywood’s finest

Energise yourself to get to the gym by perusing this slideshow resume of Golden Globes care of The New York Times 

SOCK IT TO ‘EM - never lose a sock again. Wikihow has a few clever tips on how to achieve sock pairing bliss.

All That Glitters Gift Guide


Our gift guide for the holidays is inspired by all that glitters and sparkles! From jewellery, stationery, home decor and of course bags – here's our wishlist this Christmas:
  1. 'Wonder' Necklace, Carrie K
    SG$406
     
  2. Gold Bee Thank You cards, Clare Pannell
    SG$18 for 10
     
  3. Marieke in Disco Silver, Elyse & i 
    SG$500
     
  4. Nell Emboss in Bronze, Elyse & i 
    SG$399
     
  5. Unity bracelet,  Catherine Preston 
    SG$176
     
  6. Copper cookie cutter lights, Cox & Cox
    SG$40
     
  7. Scarf with silver dragon flies, Tatty Marsh
    SG$39
     
  8. Rosanna nesting trays, Dreams & Confetti Great World City 
    SG$123 
     
  9. Marieke in Disco Gold, Elyse & i 
    SG$500
     
  10. Pineapple ice bucket, Singapore Tradepost
    SG$345
     
  11. Gilded Stag Ring Holder, Bungalow 55 - Cluny Court 
    SG$55
     
  12. Alex Monroe pineapple necklace, via Annielka from Chillax Market
    SG$189
P.S. If you're still stuck on gift ideas, check out our latest arrival - the Get Knotted! Personalize this bespoke key ring/ bag charm with a name or a message (up to 11 characters) onto the leather tag FOR FREE for a limited time period.

Find out more here