206 - Asian Pride

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Intense Asian Pride. I told you, I'm volunteering backstage for Haute Couture Week this week, too many weeks in a sentence. To sum the experience up in less than 50 words: it's a incomprehensible mess of a day from 2 to midnight, with too many hours spent on moving chairs, and the detestable state of having to spend the whole day in jeans. Jeans, to the girl who only ever wears shorts to wherever she can. Tuesday and Wednesday were Asian Couture Evening and Japan Couture Evening, and the term asian pride will henceforth be shifted from the land of out of reach perennial favorite models like Sun Fei fei and Liu Wen, to these proficient, attention deserving Asian designers.

A personal favorite despite not being the easiest crowd pleaser, Somarta by Tamae Hirokawa represents the youth and future of Japan's Haute Couture. I love Guo Pei, and all the French ateliers, but Somarta is my kind of couture. The mere existence of these sort of designs gives me a feeling fuzzier than the cruelest fur coat. The original design  ideal of "armour" can be toned down to the most graceful and feminine of pieces. (See the full show at Fide's Facebook Album here: Somarta)

Yumi Katsura's show is literally every dream girl's wedding dress. If this were a perfect world, you'd be Cinderella (unfortunately, in reality it's the rich stepsister), Katsura-sama will be your fairy godmother, and hopefully your prince will be charming. Throw away that Vera Wang, some of these designs are just as stunning, and you'll embrace a bit of your Asian roots. Three personal favorites: La creeping garden, the most impressive modern kimono cut and scenic print that are faintly echoing the sounds of the sea, and a black gold suit, because let's face it. It's a blazer, it's black, and there's gold. Hook, line, sinker baby. Special mention goes to these two gorgeous white-tie worthy gowns and softer-than-quilt fur coats; and dresses with lights. You read that right. (See the full show at Fide's Facebook album: Yumi Katsura)

And the crowd-pleaser is here. If you've been following, you'll remember Guo Pei coming for Digital Fashion Week not even two months back. I didn't get the big deal over it, until I actually watched the show for myself. I spoke to one of the photographers (after an odd period of childlike curiosity sitting behind him as he went through his photos after every show), and even though he wasn't interested in fashion, Guo Pei was his favorite show. Guo Pei's creations don't even need a label like "fashion" or "haute couture" - they are plainly (ironicly) beauties in their own right. They don't subscribe to any kind of special formula or trend; they exist to excite your eyes by creating the uncontrollable urge to drink in every detail you can. Every piece shines under the light and you cannot get the full intensity of how magnificent and intricate these pieces are unless you see them for yourself, which is a big, darn waste for everyone out there. Tens of thousands of hours are spent on one dress, and it shows. (See the full show at Fide's Facebook album: Guo Pei)

I do have some backstage photos and random shots I took myself, but I'll save that for when this exhilarating but exhausting week is over. 

205 - Seven Deadly Sins


It's pretty self-explanatory, but finally, here's the 7 Deadly Sins Remake 2012. My original one had been done quickly (as with all my other designs in the early years) and messily in 2009, see here. Gluttony was literally inspired after a watermelon; sloth is the only design I liked enough to retain most of it's originality. A quick run through:

Lust: a cloak; a chain mail body suit; chain accessories
Pride: triangle outer; black-green bodysuit with broken mirror appliques and sheer gray skirt
Envy: gold necklace; green-ribboned bodice; purple printed skirt (with japanese characters for jealousy) with sheer green front panel
Gluttony: a red shoulder-arm piece (to mimic lips); pink dress with 4-tiered sheer peach-nude fabric (to imitate layers of fat HA!)
Wrath: Black cape with multiple layers of sheer fabric at the back; navy body suit with spikes at thighs, knees and ankles
Avarice (Greed): pale yellow body suit with gold belt and sheer gold/yellow skirt
Sloth: Sleeveless mint-blue sequined dress with sheer tulle skirt and a feather train at the back; headpiece

The main reason why it took so long for me to get this up was because it was originally planned as a collaboration with a friend or mine, to draw the dresses on women in different poses for a more portrait/editorial effect. Obviously, it fell through due to clashing schedules, but I did do some intense photo referencing for her to get a better idea, so do check it out under ze cut.

204 - Slow Motion

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(left) Finale at Brooks Brothers; (right) Models backstage after Anne Fontaine.

I'll have to apologize for the slow moving updates and probably lack of solid content in the next week, since I'm volunteering to help out at Women's Fashion Week and Haute Couture Week by Fide. (Which also means I get to watch almost all the shows! Hooray!) So far there's been Herve Leger, Bread & Butter; Tommy Hilfiger/Brooks Brothers; Silvan Imberg; and Anne Fontaine. I'm not helping out with dressing/models and all that, but more of the manual labour goodie bags sort of thing, but it's still quite interesting and fulfilling. If you want to see quick updates, do check me out/follow me on instagram @rednotion. I'll still have some blog updates lined up, but have a good week!

(left) Herve Leger goodie bags, which has a Herve Leger bracelet!; (right) Final walk at Silvan Imberg

203 - Chopworks

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Very infrequently do my titles actually make sense, but then again I have no proper answer whenever someone asks me how I came up with "rednotion". It may have been a subconscious decision to make up for the lack of black from my hair, which so unfortunately got chopped to such a deplorable length, by wearing more black. It seems the natural choice for confused and muddled mornings with nothing in my closet is a cardigan, a blazer, and a pair of shorts. Everything else just comes along. 

I can't wait for my family end year trip to Taiwan. I really need new stuff. The closet's getting stale, and it doesn't lead to Narnia.

Taobao blazer; Uniqlo cardigan; Thescarletroom pleather shirt; Editor's shorts; Taobao bag; Far East platforms

202 - Candied MMM


The only piece I really wanted from the MMM x H&M collaboration was their mirror silver candy clutch. Unfortunately, the words 'silver' and 'clutch' wasn't enough of an argument to justify me spending a hundred bucks on it, but I did covet it nonetheless. Some extra silver cloth lying around at home, and some free time culminated in my own somewhat successful yet floppy (literally) attempt at a much smaller version of the clutch. It has only now struck me how intensely ginormous and obnoxious the original one was, so perhaps I should have invested in it, nevertheless, if I can hunt myself down some sturdier fabric, I'll redo it. 

I went down to Art Friend and bought myself a 12 inch zip for about 60cents (the disparity in cost between DIYs and the originals are alarming) and pinned it down to a rectangular piece of fabric. The width and the length varies according to how you want it to look, but I roughly had a 30cm x 31cm rectangle, including some allowances. 

To get the thin wrapper effect on one side, I did a double fold (here are the allowances). Once just after the zip, and another one about a third of that, just so I would have something sticking out like the flap of a candy wrapper. 

Iron things down, and prep the sewing machine. I would recommend (if you actually try doing this) to sew outer lines down the flap first - these work as those stress lines from binding the plastic together on wrappers - then using the third seam to sew through all the folded layers, including the zip.  Above, I'm sewing the first outer line on the flap.

Past that, there'll be some hand-sewing where the part of the zip where the zipper rests is concerned. Once you're done with the hidden zip, just sew two, or three, lines across after the zip ends (even more allowances needed here). Take a scissors and just methodically work your way around cutting the zig-zag edges, and you're done. Since the pleather I used was quite flimsy, I cut out a piece of cardboard from one of my old school foolscap pads and put it in for some backbone.

A bit messy, but it serves a higher purpose - saving money for even more spending. 

201 - Drunk on Sleep

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It's the time of the year for another shoot with Pachel/Rachel (see the painfully amateur first one here) and hopefully there'll be stark improvement. It was a rushed, confusing, somewhat hot shoot, but it passed by in a manner similar to the first one - absolutely delirious and high during, and deplorably spent after. In the meantime, I'm also working on another set of designs, so all I have to post are teasers. Have a good week!

200 - Blooper-thon

Squatting to get your point across, and finding out that your butt is now white. Butt bleaching. (160: Knights of the Square Table)

As a celebration of my 200th post, a small collection of what actually goes on behind the shooting of every outfit of the day post, paired together with, I would like to think, hilarious but utterly true captions. To everyone who's finished their O levels, congrats!

Finding out my best angle. (181: Meddlesome Shades of White)

Young fun in the rain. A true representation of 'the clothes make the person'. (172: Catch 'Em All)

Wide shoulders and wide strides, ugly posture and ugly face. (164: Shoulder to Shoulder)

The finishing motion of a jump from the upper step to the current one. Also known as: Egg laying. (183: Panda-mic)

Let's face it, I was never going to get through all those pebbles with my heels on. Nor get through the heat with my blazer on. (168: Desert Sun)

Asymmetrical faces should never attempt this. (162: New Chapters)

And now, a series of hair-raising photos featuring my god-given accessory: hair. 

I whip my head back and forth, back and ferttthhh. (136: Fifty Shades)

"OOhh... Euphoria!" It's the darned wind again. And a very sleepy face. (185: Prancing Beetle)

To end it all off, keep it spicy: grab your head, and swing! (186: Bright Rain)

My shoots are a lot less glamorous than they look (if they actually do look glamorous, that is)

199 - Futur-tasma

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"And Beauty is a form of Genius - is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon." - Lord Henry, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I want to dye half my hair white, but dyeing it metallic silver is my greatest dream, although I'm pretty sure that doesn't exist, and perhaps because literal silver hair isn't as conventionally "Beauty" as Lord Henry wold like to think. The quickest, driest solution is therefore to buy metallic hairspray, pray hard as little of it gets onto your white blazer, and then wash. Even with long pants, inverted triangle legs will still make their appearance, and while I was sweating it out through the 4 hour dinner, I was cruelly reminded of why I detest long pants. 

I actually made a neckpiece to supposedly go along with the outfit, but I figured the shabby visor and clutch were enough. H&M x MMM sells their candy clutch for $99, so let me make my own for less than $10, and more than a few hours of my time, accompanied by some well loved Two and a Half Men. (I'll do up the DIY post soon) Silver, silver, silver, these Rubi shoes have served me well, and I can still feel remnants of their legacy in my inexplicably numb feet.

On last notes, here's a shoutout to Jueying who got herself a gorgeous River Island dress that looks like a nicely watered down version of any Valentino piece. She won best dressed for the night, and I don't think they could've picked anyone better. An easy, all-rounded Beauty befitting of Lord Henry's words.

Anonymous anonymous.

Photos taken by me, Jazell, Allison, Christiane
Taobao blazer; H&M t-shit; Mango pants; Rubi shoes; DIY visor; DIY clutch

198 - Prototype: Visored


Ignoring the subliminal Bleach reference in the title (and the nagging feeling that I should have named it 'visor-black' instead), my end-of-year school 'prom' - it feels immensely odd and unsuitable to call it that - had the ever prosaic theme of Masquerade. Perchance, I went to Venice last year and managed to get myself a mask, but I thought it'd be too mainstream. Then I figured, why not make myself a visor instead, like Alexander McQueen's Fall 2012 visors? It still boggles me why no one has decided to mass produce fakes of them yet: the jaw dropping sight of a bunch of people walking around Singapore with visors on their heads provides enough of an incentive to me, at the very least. I played around with a few ideas, but then I stumbled across this simple black (regrettably - mirror silver would still be the best option) full face visor from Daiso.

Adapting the original design a bit, I cut it just to make a small hill at my nose, since I lack the humanly-declared desirable genes of a small, straight, and sharp breathing mechanism. The headband that came with the visor is definitely secure, but for people like me who don't actually plan to wear it for ages at a time, it's a bit too thick and a bit too tight, so I cut it off.

Getting a headband and a sheet of double-sided tape from Daiso (read: massive inspiration trove) I measured the length of the visor, cut accordingly, and pasted. Afternote reads that I would recommend a hot glue gun or super glue instead, because this double sided sheet desn't hold as well as I would like to. I made some minor adjustments here and there to narrow the visor, but other than that, I was left with my own pseudo, messy visor. There are some limitations that come with it, like actually needing hair to hide the general shabbiness of it, but... this is just another notch in my Prototype belt. 

It's such a shame that I'm such a messy workers but I'm brimming with so many brilliant ideas. Pictures up another time!

Get everything from Daiso.

197 - Cedric Charlier SS2013

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The first thing that attracted me to Cedric Charlier's SS2013 collection was the makeup. It's like modern Pocahontas (which, when I found out was real, shocked me) meets a.. sparrow. You cannot deny that it sure helps to focus the models' gaze in the center. Squawkitty squawk. 

I feel like the collection doesn't have a set tone or identity. Take for example, when you watch a McQueen show, or an Alexander Wang, or Marchesa, etc, all these designers come with a very key design scheme. It's upscale, or high-street, or futuristic, among many. The direction of the design is very firmly set, so most of the time once you've seen the first several looks of the show, you'll know whether you'll like the rest or not. While I personally feel that Charlier doesn't excel in this area so much, variety is always good, and I'm particularly fond of the white looks she started out with (below). Boxy jackets and the ubiquitous Spring 2013 mesh and perforation. The leg warmers are questionable, but then again so is the makeup.

The print is pictured here as a full-body dress, but I much prefer it as slits and highlights in the overall look as seen in the backstage photo at the beginning of the post. Much more elegant and clean. The sheer black dress was a nice stunner - intelligently placed overlaps of fabric to create an architectural feel that still retains it's softness. Still doesn't beat the white looks though.

Images from Vogue and Tumblr