26 August 2014


A women's magazine recently asked me to participate in an interview for its September issue and sent me a list of questions. These are the predictable questions, with my unexpected answers.

 Q. What is the must-have/must-try trend this season and why? 
A. Everything and nothing. I've long given up on this idea of "must-have" as nothing is really a must-have unless it's lunch. There are simply too many pressing requirements in life to think of any random fashion item as a "must-have." Seriously, what actually happens if you don't have a "must-have"? Nothing. Who cares?

Based on the trends that you chose, please answer the following: Top 3 runway representations of the trend and why you chose these 3 brands.
There aren't actually any "trends" anymore: Everything goes nowadays. In any given season, you can see everything presented as the latest. The trend seems to be that at any one label, they would show a wide spectrum of looks and items to encompass all tastes and styles: The result is that short, long, volume, slim, minimal, print, plain, embellished, matte, shiny, black, colour, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s is well-represented. Show me a "trend" and I will show you the exact opposite - and often from the same collection. Fashion is a market after all, and labels just want sales.

Is this a trend for everyone? Why and why not?
 This "trend" of providing something for everyone with a cynical eye on sales is ironically what is detracting from the power of fashion. Because everything goes, nothing is therefore a "must-have" and the pull to buy isn't that urgent. And since everything is '"in" then you might as well just shop your own closet.

What do you like and dislike most about this trend?
I like that this makes fashion very democratic - but I dislike that now everyone is a fashion expert/ style icon. Now everyone with who can afford to buy a studded shoe thinks he's a fashion director - or worse - editor. 

Is this a seasonal trend or do you predict this trend to have a long shelf life? Why and why not? 

Hopefully this doesn't go on for very long - but delusions can last for a whole lifetime. 

How do you suggest to wear this trend for the work week and weekend.
You can wear delusions for a very long time, and everyday of the week if you factor in trips to Seoul to get your face done now and then.
Give 2 style tips on how to wear this trend. 
Must-haves to wear this trend convincingly would be to have a Kenzo cap and a new nose/ filler cheeks.   

What are the must-haves to own?
The LOUDEST press samples you can grab at the sample sale and a very developed ego.  
What items do you think will sell the best? 

Absolutely the LOUDEST, most-easily recognised items, those things that can immediately be identified on Instagram - things which leave no room for real worth, workmanship or subtlety. 

How do you turn this high-fashion trend into everyday life? Is it possible? Why and Why not? 

Everyone and their sidekick is doing it, so as long as you have an Instagram account you can too. And get that studded shoe!

3 dos and 3 don't when trying out this trend.
1. Watch Korean dramas and MVs, and learn to do synchronised dancing. 
2. Layer everything loud over everything louder. 
3. Wear the most hideous, over designed shoes.

1. Think too much - it will crease your brow. 
2. Read. 
3. Pretend that you're human.   
Who are some personalities who will wear this trend best? (eg. someone who is a conservative dresser or someone who loves colors etc) 

This trend is for all the poor lost souls who always wanted to be in fashion and now they find they can - after some nip and tuck and now that Instagram has made words redundant.

Does this trend come with rules you should follow or is it best to break any fashion rule with regards to this trend?
There are no more fashion rules - only ego and shamelessness.

22 June 2014


Bottega Veneta

Calvin Klein Collection
This is a lesson in styling: If you look beyond the pale pink/ beige monochrome of these very different collections, you can see that the looks break down to pretty much the same items; I think the germ of the idea of athletic wear is there, also the idea of underwear, the referencing of women's lingerie but styling makes it all so different, and that includes the choice of model. Bottega Veneta's has a ballet dancer's langour, while Calvin Klein's has more of a pornstar appeal.
Bottega Veneta

Calvin Klein Collection

20 June 2014


I read with absolute dismay that Z Zegna, a label that I loved for so long, for its clear creative vision and beautifully realised designs by Paul Surridge, will now be merged with Zegna Sport to become a rebooted label. The first collection to be codesigned by Mr Surridge and Murray Scallon (formerly the head designer at Zegna Sport), though it tells a cohesive story, looks like it's been designed by committee. It has all the essentials of a second line, "youthful, high-performance clothes that focus on quality materials and slick Italian tailoring." In fact, more clothes that we don't need, not because they don't fulfill the brief, but because the market is already saturated with such-like. What we do need more is beauty and personal vision, not cynical calculation of what will sell.  Do you like what you see?

18 June 2014


What a fresh, eye-opening start to another round of fashion shows and all those fashion tarts are off again on their business flights and cars in the carousel of stale parties and Instagram-ops and what-nots. Did you like Sarah Burton's Matisse collage-suitings at Alexander McQueen? I thought they were sharp and jazzy and Japanese (Comme/Junya, anyone?) at the same time, decorative without being bogged down. The entire thing was bracingly "racy", except for a quartet of looks that had the look of those black-and-red lacquer bento boxes: Too literal a reference to Japan.

It's clearly inspired by Henri Matisse's cut-outs (like this Blue Nude from 1952), which fashion types can see at the exhibition Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, at the Tate Modern (on till 7 September) instead of worrying about which samples to wear.

12 June 2014


I decided that I needed a holiday one Thursday morning while I was in the office. On top of my work, I had to explain to a stylist the difference between being stylish and being merely trendy. It didn't make my "pep talk" any easier to see her endearing little moustache bristling. The fiendish features editor later (unhelpfully) said that it was the Salvador Dali in her trying to get out. 
Phuket time is one hour behind Singapore time, but it seems like an entirely different experience of time altogether. Everything feels slower once you arrive at the airport, which is casual and 1980s ugly, and lighter, as if you just threw away five years of designer clothes from your wardrobe. 
The last time I was in Phuket, the island was nothing but wooden shacks and rubber plantations. Now there are distressing excavations and diggings (but where are the workers?) and tractors with no drivers. Huge and largely similar billboards advertise the hotels and condos that will be standing where there are now just piles of yellow upturned earth. Is this progress? And does it all have to be so ugly?
As we drive further into the depths of Phuket in the evening light, my Phuket emerges. A young girl is planting her three little siblings on a scooter before jumping on herself. All four race off into the dusty, winding hill roads, her talcum-ed brown neck is thrown back in a white laugh, her just-had-a-bath hair is flying in the wind.
Phuket for me is the trials of schoolboys in orange, white and blue uniforms walking home after school. They all sport that brusque-short haircut that makes them look like budding thugs, savage yet sweet, violent and vulnerable at the same time. They stare at our speeding, dark minibus insolently.
Phuket for me is always sunset time. A slow island slowing down as planters go home for a bathe by the well; as shops close and their owners sit outside to enjoy the breeze. 
Even the stray dogs look content. 
And then we arrive at the Royal Phuket Yacht Club.  

09 June 2014


Football phenom Cristiano Ronaldo strips down (yes, yet again) for Mario Testino (always!), on the June issue of Spanish Vogue, alongside Russian supermodel and girlfriend (of two years) Irina ShaykRonaldo, to my mind the most perfectly beautiful of all footballers, and the highest paid soccer star in the world, plays for Real Madrid and will captain the Portuguese national team in this year's World Cup in Rio.
I know many of you would have never seen Ronaldo's eyebrows in their natural glory and here they are. If you click on the T Magazine cover, you will be able to see why he has them groomed into immaculate arches at all times now. Many have objected to his Joan Crawford worthy plucked arches, but I rather like them and I think they add a certain attractive violence to his prettiness.