30 May 2010


Adj. 1. Unadorned - not decorated with something to increase its beauty or distinction
undecorated; plain - not elaborate or elaborated; simple. Synonymns: plain, simple, severe, stark, straightforward, restrained, unfussy, unembellished, unornamented...Unvarnished, real, dignified and really quite beautiful. Top down: Isabella Rosselini, James Franco and Bjork.

29 May 2010

Bizarre But Good

This was way back when poor Bazaar was good (Dec 1965!)... The art direction and the coverlines look wonderfully relevant and modern - just compare this to what they are doing today! On a different note... this is what Sophia Loren looked like.

28 May 2010

Action Figure

You really can buy everything you need online... including this 5-1/4'' hard vinyl Jane Austen action figure! This doll comes with a book (Pride And Prejudice) and a writing desk with removable quill pen. Buy it at http://www.mcphee.com/shop/products/Jane-Austen-Action-Figure.html

27 May 2010

Do You Know The Way To Saint Tropez

...Sing along to the tune of Do You Know The Way To Saint Jose wa wa wa wa wa wa wa wa wa wa wa... Sean O catching a tan in St Tropez. He's filled out a little bit don't you think? Still cute? Deadly boring?

He Said She Said

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
– Marcel Proust

Hermès In and Out

"I think the appointment of Christophe is very ambitious. Maybe in five years I will look back and think it was a terrible mistake — or a wonderful surprise. I like that. I think we need that. Hermès is really born out of movement. Christophe shares very simple and basic values with Hermès. There is a definite love of simplicity without losing a sense of fantasy and joy. And there is a history at Hermès, if you go back to the 1920s, of chic-sportive fashion. In the ’20s, there was already a sense of clothes serving a function, to go outdoors. I can see Christophe building on the reference of sport-and-chic." - Pierre Alexis DumasAfter seven years at Hermès, Jean-Paul Gaultier, artistic director of women’s ready-to-wear is leaving this storied house. The spring 2011 collection (to be revealed in october) will be the last collection created by Jean-Paul Gaultier for Hermès. With its 45% holding, Hermès remains as the main shareholder of Jean-Paul Gaultier’s house after Mr Gaultier. Christophe Lemaire will replace him as artistic director of Hermès women’s ready-to-wear from the fall 2011 collection.

23 May 2010

News: C'est Bizarre

Harper's Bazaar's editor in chief Glenda Bailey is looking hard for ways to cut costs. They’ve gone for one of the easiest methods around: Trim the frequency of the magazine. Bazaar will combine the June and July issues this year for the first time in its history, a spokeswoman has confirmed. Is part of the strategy also trying to look a bit/lot like its traditional rival Vogue? Take a look at its cover and see for yourself!

22 May 2010

Sunday Self Pic

Not self pics but model candids:
Nils Butler (backstage at John Galliano) and Simon Nessman.

21 May 2010

Weekend Reading List

In becoming more interested in cooking, rather than just food, I've taken to watching cooking programmes and reading recipes. Last week, H lent me Cook With Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook by Jamie Oliver (I have to say that he is my favourite TV cook), The Enchanted Broccoli Forest (Mollie Katzen) and All-Colour Pizza And Pasta: Appetising, Exciting and Inexpensive Italian Dishes (Renato Rudatis). I'm looking forward to trying ou some of the simpler recipes in my bid to eating healthier; My recent struggles in the changing room, tussling with apparel no longer my size is a big impetus for me. It didn't help that last night we ate a heavy Mexican dinner at the week-old Casa Latina on Waterloo Street to celebrate P's birthday, and tomorrow my mother's birthday lunch at the Imperial Treasure in Marina Sands will be another rich meal. After tea and cakes at P's flat a short stroll down from the Mexican, I left shortly after midnight with reading he'd been keeping for me, a bag full of back numbers of The Financial Times Weekender and How To Spend It supplements.
I should be jogging, not reading, of course.

How Does She Do It?

Madonna before and after Photoshop Day Cream (she uses the Photoshop Serum at night too). Bang Bang.

20 May 2010

Oh Summer!

June: Just a girl on a beach with a swimsuit... But what a girl and what a beach!
Here, Kate/Carine is obviously channeling Marilyn Monroe, and though this seems a hackneyed idea by now, this treatment looks fresh. Ms Monroe has a rich archive of pictures for referencing - she did so many pictures...

19 May 2010

He Said She Said

"The reading of all good books is indeed like a conversation with the noblest men of past centuries who were the authors of them, nay a carefully studied conversation, in which they reveal to us none but the best of their thoughts." - Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650)

Cate The Great

June issue of W.

18 May 2010

The Sea Wall

The monsoon (sultry heat and thunderous rain) is perfect weather to watch this 2009 movie that will inevitably trigger memories of the controversial 1992 film The Lover (Jane March and Tony Leung). The Sea Wall has a French girl with an ambiguous affair with a worldly older man in 1920s French Indo-China (this period and place is my favourite, especially when done well - which it isn't really here); it is also based on a Marguerite Duras novel - a different yet similarly autobiographical book about the same period in the author's life. The emphasis here is on Duras's mother, played with typical impassivity by the wonderful Isabelle Huppert. Don't you love her? Can you imagine Ms Huppert as a rice farmer in Siem Reap who has made an unwise investment in land continually flooded because of breaches in the overwhelmingly symbolic sea wall? A wealthy Chinese man is infatuated with her 16 year old daughter Suzanne (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, gorgeous and seemingly straight out of an issue of Vogue Paris). This alliance would save their lives, yet Suzanne's mother and 19 year old brother (a smouldering performance seemingly based on the young Marlon Brando part in A Streetcar Named Desire from the deliciously shirtless Gaspard Ulliel), are nettled and humiliated by the prospect. There's a whiff of incest, and there's racial anger and resentment, and set against a never-convincing Cambodian revolt against French rule, the movie is not at all subtle, and pure clunky in parts. The beautiful leads all give watchable performances, however, and the wisps of atmosphere provide a nice escape. Directed by Rithy Panh.

Kate Top Shop Video

Tossing her hair to Be Brave by The Strange Boys, Kate shows off her latest Topshop collection (her 12th) and her fine self (at least she still looks like herself, not flabby and out of shape) including some sheer tunics, fringe, and a lace dress. Shot by Nick Knight. News also broke that Kate will dance a ballet with Mikhail Baryshnikov. She will fly to New York next week to start training. The ballet won’t be performed live–thank god–but filmed, in Marseilles, this summer. The short film will premiere for charity, and then live on in an art gallery. Michael Clark is choreographing the piece.

16 May 2010

Weekend Reading List

Mona and her family were at BG's today half watching a French musical, half having a post-pizza snooze. We went straight into BG's room and she showed me all her new favourite perfumes (there weare so many that I ran out of body parts on which to spray them on for a sniff); Then she pushed her closet doors wide with a kick and pulled out some Pull & Bear shorts that she said I should buy; Next, she showed me some cast iron wood pigeon bookends and an antiqued wood frame that she said she bought from the Robinson's sale; And then I sat (gingerly) on her bed to study some photo albums from two decades ago. Horrors. Everyone looked so young then! I left an hour later with a bag of reading that BG wanted to chuck, including Interview (Carey Mulligan - who is she???) filled cover to cover with cool people I don't recognise and am not interested in; The Penelope Cruz-edited Vogue Paris; Eight issues of Real Living (I've never heard of this title before); Two issues of Martha Stewart Living; Last month's Men's Non No (I can't remeber the last time I looked in one, although there were years in my life when I bought every issue!); And two issues each of Vanity Fair and Time (these my father can read). Then we went out to look at BG's plants which forms a thick screen that hides his door. A single passion fruit hangs like a jewel from its serpentine twine, green and glittering like a jade fruit.

13 May 2010

Not A Pretty Picture

This Picasso painting of his mistress was sold for more than USD106.5 million by Christie's last week, shattering the record for the most expensive artwork ever sold at an auction. The 1932 Picasso, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, 5X4-foot, 'depicts' Marie-Therese Walter, the artist's lover. The painting had been expected to go for $70 to $90 million. The previous record for a piece of art sold at auction was set in February, when an anonymous bidder paid $104.3 million for an Alberto Giacometti bronze sculpture at Sotheby's in London.
People obviously have a lot of money and very little taste. Reuters's Felix Salmon sniffs: "At these levels, buying art becomes trophy-hunting, a silly competition to see who can spend the most money," he sniffs. "The main reason for the price is not quality but size: the painting is a good 20 square feet, much larger than any of Picasso's cubist masterworks. The painting is instantly recognizable as a big Picasso, and it will surely make its buyer feel very rich and powerful every time he sees it. But the price has nothing to do with quality."

A Frustration Voiced

"A frustration voiced a lot these days — by art directors, writers, bloggers and others — is that people aren’t actually creating new things today. They are repeating, mimicking, collecting, downloading, endlessly commenting upon — activities that may be interesting and that may reflect the present moment but are not about creating anything. One could even argue that they are the opposite of creativity and produce the feeling of being in a prison." - Cathy Horyn

Bangkok Days and Siamese Nights 3: Thai Gothic

The Little Rat was little, a miniature of a man, like one of those child-sized meals on a fast food menu. Not quite a dwarf, she was yet smaller than a jockey, like an underfed 13 year old, with an old witch's head. In fact NN said that The Rat probably became stunted at 13, the year she had To Sir With Love with her English teacher at Raffles, "The trauma of having sex at that tender age, although, of course it's debatable if The Rat was ever tender, at any age, with that British pedophile, surely froze her in this stunted form. And you know, they have been together since - and that means The Rat has only ever slept with that one old man all her life. Perhaps that's what makes her so bitter. That, and the fact that she has to wear kiddy couture to a ripe old age when it's no longer cute."
The Rat was having her first trial seperation from Sir Pedo, and was staying at P's vast gothic house on Sathorn Road (Bangkok was like some rambling halfway house for runaway Singaporeans, a convenient escape), "I've been staying there these last three months and I'm fairly ready to tear all my hair out," said Ratty Rat. "It's such a weird set up my dears." She said that scores of young men would come and go at every hour of the day, P's friends, hangers-on and friends of friends of friends. Anyone could have stolen P's diamond Cartier watch. The Rat counted down the suspects:

There were the Chinese twins from Kanchanaburi, pale and Chinese-speaking (sounding Malaysian) but ever so sly and skinny, and would be bouncing a basketball around P's parched gardens of an evening, sweat slicking their smooth shirtless bodies. There was the silent, dark, Tii, fiddling, in the shade of the wooden verandah, with his new mobile phone that was so new he hardly knew how to operate it. He came to deliver a bag of ganja one night, fell asleep on the sofa, and never left. Rach, the brand PR, who was so pale and beautiful he looked just like a living doll. Everyone was totally besotted by Rach, a sort of hi-so prince... But he wouldn't have stolen the watch. The drugs maybe, but not the diamond Cartier watch.

12 May 2010

Book Them

Jil Sander is working on a book. The designer is currently working on her third +J collection for Uniqlo, but she's also got another, independent project in the works. She wants to produce a book: “Some kind of resume of my work in the past and the ideals that stand behind it.” Sensible proposition. Much more dismayingly:
As part one of a three-book young adult fantasy series deal with Random House, Tyra Banks has announced her first novel, Modelland. "The story happens in a make-believe place called Modelland," Ms Banks explains. "Every girl in the world wants to go there because it’s where 'Intoxibellas' are trained. Intoxibellas are drop-dead beautiful, kick-butt fierce and maybe they have some powers too. The story follows a teen girl and her friends who find themselves magically transported to Modelland, even though they’re really not supposed to be there."
The 'book' is scheduled for a Summer 2011 release, and Ms Banks wants to turn the series into a movie franchise. The move into books, she says, signals the entrance into the "third stage" of her career. "I went from being a model to creating a production company. The third phase is not just TV production, but also film and a beauty Web portal."
I won't hold my breath if you won't.

11 May 2010

Bangkok Days and Siamese Nights 2: Without A Backward Glance

Lady NN put down her drained iced latte at last, and in a characteristic change of gear, and said with a soft sigh:
"But of course I've forgiven Bloody Mary. I pity her really, always wearing her heart on her sleeve like that. Fancy falling for a wild thing like Billy. She always had the worst taste in men.
"Of course Bloody Mary didn't really meet Billy at the fruit stall, though I'm sure Billy was selling oranges on Pradiphat at some point in his long and winding career; God knows he's done quite a lot of things - but never for long. After our little misadventure at Aqua, I sat Bloody Mary down at Cafe Harmonique over a bottle of Moet, and I said 'Spit it out, Bloody Mary'. And you know, she fairly howled (you know, Bloody Mary's never good with drinks and bawls like an abandoned baby when in her cups)".
This is Bloody Mary's Story:
"It was the weeks before Christmas, and we had sex, and then we said goodbye as usual about 5am, because Billy said he had to go and open the fruit stall. And I was seized with this freakish howling panic that I would never see Billy again once he walked down that apartment corridor and took the lift, and once I saw his shape walk onto Sala Daeng out the gate. We kissed and said goodbye again. I got back back into bed, as usual. The door thudded shut. I remember I was still rubbing the bump on my head where, when Billy had entered me so hard, I banged against the wooden headboard, and all the books fell off the table.
Billy had left without a backward glance.
I leapt out of bed, ran to the door and opened it but the beige foyer was heartlessly empty and dark, the lift doors implacably shut. Billy was gone so quickly. It was so hard to reconcile with his physical sensation, still so vivid on my skin, and his smell was still on my face. I kept thinking 'I'll never see him again.' I cried when I was packing my bags that day, and of course, I left my silk Costume Homme pants behind and my adapter, and all sorts of stuff but I didn't care. It's just that my jacket is now missing its pants, and I really liked that suit. As the car winded away from the apartment, I kept turning back, unreasonably expecting to see Billy still walking down that road where we've had so many dinners at the cafe; All I saw was Pui, the security guard with the horrible squint and a parchment face, saluting.
Billy said he would be going to the movies tonight. Maybe.
When I'm back home with Eric Tan, good old bad old Eric Tan in our own marital bed of 10 years, Billy would be watching a movie. Who with?
The bump on my brow was hardening into a pain not unlike a headache. I kept touching it gingerly all through the flight home, wondering if it was going to bruise or not. I'll just tell Eric I bumped into a door, not that dear old Eric was likely to notice. Billy had kept saying 'sorry, sorry' as he continued to nail me and I kept thinking, "I'll never see you again. And when we say goodbye, you'll walk down that foyer and down the lift and out of my life."
I could call, but what's the point?
Billy had said that he had to go back to his family farm for Christmas and the New Year. There was no way I could follow him there. He laughed out loud at the idea.
I still can't bear to look at the picture Billy had given me of him laughing slyly into the camera one hand on his hip, the swimming shorts wet and clinging. I've hidden it in the office at work. Who had taken that picture? What pool was that? Was that a hard-on?
The bump on my brow unknotted and softened away during the weeks counting down to the new year, when I was so busy that I hadn't even noticed that it had turned yellow, and then was gone. One day I reached up to touch it, and I couldn't even remember where exactly it had been. Billy's bump was gone.
But where was Billy? He hadn't called.
And then on Christmas Eve, just as I was tidying up the place and Eric and all of Eric's friends had gone off to dance in Taboo, clearing up the marital ashtrays, and lining the marital bin with a fresh marital bin liner, I got an SMS: A Merry Xmas messsage, one of those blinking trees made up of dots, dashes, semi-colons and parantheses, but still recognisably a blinking Christmas tree.
From Billy.
And then, I sat down by the empty champagne bottles on the marital doorstep and broke down. Maybe NN is right; It could have been the drinks.

"And that, truly, was the last that Bloody Mary ever saw of her lover boy Billy. That poor heartbroken bitch has trawled Pradiphat up and down, and the fruit stall, if it was ever there, was no longer," said NN finally. "Bawl your eyes out young lady, I said, but don't inflict Aqua on any of your other friends; You might find that they are not as forgiving as me."

I was meeting The Rat for dinner back at my hotel, "that chintz hell Orientelle", as NN put it. (Each queen, obviously, had their own preferred modes de abode when they visited Bangkok: Their choices spoke volumes about their fussiness/ perversity and self regard: Some liked the clean lined modernity and a business center vibe; Some liked to stay with friends and don't mind watering plants and old towels; Some liked serviced apartments for the chance to play house; Some liked the cheap but cheerful - the YWCA. For my convalescence, I wanted the cosy civility of The Oriental. After the weeks in the wilderness, I needed good old fashioned luxury and unquestioning service.) NN was kindly ushering me back into her private tank in the jasmine-fragrant dusk of the quiet soi when I had a brainwave: "Lady NN, if you have nothing going on for dinner except tucking your 6 foot 2 human pet to bed and giving him a nutritious bottle, why don't you come and eat with The Rat, or at least have a drink or two?"
I didn't want to face the Rat alone.

He Said She Said

"All truly wise thoughts have been thoughts already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Bangkok Days and Siamese Nights 1

In remembrance of those days and nights that are gone forever:

And then, just when I was looking particularly down at heel, feeling very sorry for myself, and having nothing to look forward to except a very early flight home to Singapore, I heard this voice, flutey and high, calling my name in the middle of a god forsaken, dusty Teochew woman-operated drugstore in Sukhumvit. A Singaporean voice. It was NN, peering nanny-goatishly over her huge sunglasses. "I thought it was you!" she said. "Lord... God-golly-gosh-ghouls galore don't you look a sad rag-tag railroad child? Whatever are you doing here? Xanax, I'll bet. Let's have tea! You look like you need some sugar and I know a sweet little cafe here, just around the corner; I knew I kept the car waiting for a reason. Whatever are you wearing?" gushed NN, as ever was her unstoppable way.
NN's car was throbbing at the curb, directly outside the shoddy shophouse, adding to the Tuesday all-day-all-night traffic jam Bangkok is justly famous for. Traffic jams, drugstores and baths for boys. It was a large hotel SUV (with driver), all black, with blacked out windows like a dictator's private tank, but covered with an icing of dust, like everything else in this lovely city. I climbed in, as I was still too weak from my recent bout of flu to protest.
At least, the good doctor Vih the hotel sent for thought it was flu. When he left he scribbled me his mobile number, and this being Bangkok, one couldn't be sure if Dr Vih was just being careful, or carefully flirting.
The cafe, hidden in Soi 51, was indeed sweet, and set in a private garden with a white wedding cake gazebo, like one of those surreal enclosed gardens in Spain. You'd never guess it was there, if you didn't know it was there. And just how NN knew it was there... Well, NN knew many things. And she kept an apartment in the city, though she still made the Grand Hyatt her home - she simply enjoyed the bowing and scraping and she said, the gym instructor there, named Bob ("Just Bob, not Bobby, not Robert. Just Bob") made room calls. Just how NN, who started her life a rubber tapper's love child, came to have an apartment, right next to Central Chitlom, was a matter speculated far and wide - it was the penthouse unit after all. I know it; I'd eaten dinner there. (It was an odd meal, not home-made: NN sent her cleaning lady who bought up a feast of street-grilled meat, chicken rice balls, and tart salad made on the back of a motorbike - and lots of duty free wine - was served on plastic plates laid on the Armani Casa dining table. NN's 'boyfriend' at that time, Jack, a gorgeous model, 22 yo 186 73 Thai Chinese, who was as silent as an Easter Island statue, solemnly ate with us. And when he had finished most of the Le Notre cake, burped loudly, and retired to play computer games.) NN looks like Diahann Caroll, but dressed like a D-List Italienne, like a De Caten, for instance. She peered over her aviator shades while getting all foamed up from the latte - iced - "such a haaawt day" said NN, pulling at her tight white dowager's DSquared shirt: "My poor titties are so bound up by this stupid shirt I feel like a bladdy bull dyke."
NN's story unravelled as the sun slowly set and I fed the ginger cats our cream cakes - the Thais know how to bake and the city is full of the most delicious pastries:
Now listen young lady, never let them do your nails here. Look at my toe now (she kicked off her pristine Converse designed by a dunno-who limited edition blah blah blah and nearly put me off my scones) Look. Got infected by some canker when I did my pedi out of boredom and now I can't wear sandals. If you're bored better just run down and buy yourself a DVD from Silom and watch Nozuki 17 rather than do a pedi and get crinkle fry toenails. I'm going home to see Dr Chong and pay him $120 to talk to me for 40 minutes.
Anyway, I'm done with Bangkok. I'm packing off tomorrow. Nothing ever works out right in the end for me here. Like yesterday. Bloody Mary, the lying bitch, tricked me into going to Aqua - you've never been? Good. Keep it that way - it looks like a dusty seafood restaurant that's seen better days. And I swear there's sperm flakes peeling off the plastic starfish decor - where was I? Yes. Bloody Mary. Ran away from her boyfriend (or was it the other way around?). Wanted to cry. But forced me to take her to Aqua instead. I thought, fine, cold comfort for a broken wrist. Well, it was hell right in there. I didn't even dare to shower, though I felt dirty enough - and so hot. I only lifted my arms dear, and cleaned under a little bit. And I kept retreating to the wall, so the water from the shower would not splash on me.
Remember that time I told you H only pretended to shower? 'Cos when I checked the floor of the bathroom after he got out it was dry as the Gobi? Now I understand completely how he did it. How can you shower when the idiot in the next stall kept pulling the dividing curtain to reach for the soap dispenser in my stall? They don't even have soap dispensers in every stall and this disembodied, but still femme, hand kept reaching blindly for it. Sister! I was so scared she'd touch me. 'Cos I'm fat, like Precious. Sigh. And then three drags stared at me when I was taking my 'complimentary' foot bath - and how was I to know my tawny brown paws weren't to be soaked in private, but out there by the lockers? Well, too late, I couldn't bolt as my feet were already in the tiny basin that was like something from Ikea. I was 'dressed' in a too-small green towel tied, empire style, at my ample waist and my buxom chest heaved with the extra exertion of having to suck in my tummy, and I nearly fell off the stool while trying to keep the towel from de-frocking when I tried to cross my legs and that's just the start of the nightmare.
Bloody Mary had disappeared without a trace the moment we closed the car door - she said she needed to pung sai. Aqua has the stupidest doorchime thing; As each patron enters the seedy establishment, sounds of birds chirping maniacally would twitter and cheep. It was horrible. But more horrors followed. The drag that massaged me simpered at me (she looked like Jerri Ng, my dear) and clawed at my buttocks. I was so angry at the idea of her simpering that I clamped my thighs tight so the drag could not give me a happy ending.
It was, my dear, a sad ending 'cos as you know I hate drags to touch me. I felt like farting loudly to spite her. But I didn't 'cos Bloody Mary might hear. The bloody walls were made of ... like cardboard?

10 May 2010

Top 10 Minus 5 or 6

Well, who are your top 10 fashion gods? In celebration of a decade since its launch, 10 magazine featured ten "fashion gods" for ten separate covers — each photographed by the lensman of the designer's choice. Helmut Lang used a passport photo; Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana commissioned Terry Richardson; Vivienne Westwood had Juergen Teller; Ralph Lauren was snapped by Bruce Weber; And Karl Lagerfeld used a self-portrait. Although these covers look really exciting and all, I think, when it comes to making a splashy statement like this, extra care really ought to be taken to choose quite the right 'gods' to honour. I don't see how someone like Miuccia Prada can be omitted when Donatella Versace is featured. And fashion at this point in time really is about Raf Simons and Nicholas Ghesqueire, isn't it? And what about Rei Kawakubo and Phoebe Philo? As for me, I would put Christopher Bailey right up there for consistent, dogged brilliance. Still, one must be grateful for small mercies: I'm pleased to note that Marc Jacobs isn't on the cover - one small victory in the long slow march of fashion?