Monday, May 25, 2015

Delicate Beauty: Diane Kordas Heartbeat Bracelet

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If You Adore Dainty Jewellery that still makes a statement piece, this rose gold bracelet with 18 carat white diamonds from Diane Kordas will certainly stir up compliments wherever you go.

Blink and your heart may skip a beat. Diane Kordas heartbeat collection features rings and bracelets with the iconic sign of life on a heart rate monitor which is open to interpretation and therefore a fine piece of art in itself.

The New York based jewellery designer is no stranger to the fashion world with her simple yet rock and roll inspired designs such as star-studded ear-cuffs, cross and Gothic styled bracelets and rings.

The heartbeat represents a special symbol of life's ups and downs. Despite all odds, we believe in perseverance and not letting obstacles trip us up and pull us down all the time. The highs will also be followed by the lows and the lowest points in life will not remain for long as it has to make way for a higher point in time. Based on this philosophy, we bid you a good start to the week and banish your Monday blues away!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Poor Quality Designer Bags to Avoid

Image source: Resort 2015 ad campaign featuring Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos

Chrome or chemical leather VS Natural vegetable leather tanning 

A two part special investigative journalism series

If you are wondering what led us to research the leather tanning process, the answer lies in our own personal experience with inferior quality designer bags which led to the discovery of the emergence of unethical and dishonest fashion brands.

Poor quality designer bags and luxury items
Oftentimes, people purchase luxury branded bags thinking that they are of higher quality and are long-lasting. For instance, one could use their beloved bag over and over again without having to throw away or replace them, unlike high-street fashion brands that usually carry poorly-made synthetic leather handbags and accessories.

After last year's report on Burberry using toxic chemicals to produce their main and children's line clothing, consumers need to know that high-end luxury brands do not equate to the same-old high quality items than compared to decades ago.

You don't pay for what you get

"Leather goods, even with constant use, can last over a hundred years. In this sense, they are a highly sustainable product. An artisan who makes leather gun cases told me that, if a leather bag is made properly, it should be decades before it needs repair. However, in order to boost margins and cope with increased demand, many luxury brands now manufacture their leather goods to a much lower standard" - BOF (Business of Fashion)

There are many products in the market that cost a good couple of grand that will sadly last less than a year before they are in need of repair. To reduce overheads and production costs, some luxury brands have resorted to dishonest means such as varnishing the edges of bags with acrylic. Such technique would cause the leather edges to crack quickly so people need to replace their handbags.

Sub-standard hardware such as lead or tin based allow rather than brass or specially plated steel are used in handbags, belts and other accessories. Even the traditional art of hand-stitching bags using the saddle stitch method is replaced by machine or shoddy normal-stitching.

"A leather good cannot be considered ‘sustainable’ or ‘luxury’ if a brand has compromised on materials and manufacturing processes to the point that the object will last mere years, rather than decades. Price alone does not determine whether or not a product is luxury. Many brands, including some of the most august names in the luxury industry, have undermined their legacies by chasing volume and profits at the cost of quality, all while doing considerable harm to the environment." - BOF

Bad experience with inferior designer handbags
When we first set eyes on the vibrant-coloured Miu Miu's Resort collection handbags during an overseas trip, it was love at first sight.

However, after taking the bags home, using them for a few times in less than a month, the colour starts running and the top layer of the nappa leather had peeled off revealing ugly bluish-gray of what looks like cheap, chemical-treated leather.

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The colours you can produce from natural vegetable tanning methods are limited. Hence brands prefer chrome tanning for the colour options and because it is quick and cheaper too.

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Picture of a damaged miu miu gold matelasse small shoulder bag with the color ran-off revealing greyish-blue poor quality chemically treated leather. The new miu miu bags are no longer made in Italy. They are made in Turkey. The handbag was used only twice before the leather started peeling off.

Other brands we had experience with poor quality, defective bags include Celine and Barbara Bui.

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Celine Trapeze bag from the Spring Summer 2015 collection had shoddy workmanship showing a blob of lacquer spillover onto the front flap of the bag, putting into question whether there really is quality control for the French brand's leather goods and accessories.

Chemical Tanning Versus Natural Leather Bags
Just what is chemical tanning and how does it differ from vegetable or natural leather tanning process?

"Over three quarters of the tanneries represented at any trade fair use the process of chrome tanning to turn animal hides into the leather that is used by high street, contemporary and luxury brands alike." - BOF

"80-90% of leathers in the world are tanned by chrome or mineral tanning. Chrome tanning uses a solution of chemicals, acids and salts (including chromium sulphate) to dye the hide. First the hide is ‘pickled’ by being left in the acid salt mixture, before being placed into the chromium sulphate.

All hides then come out looking light blue (known as ‘wet blue’) and then have a finishing colour applied." - AB Trading

Chrome tanning is a quick process which takes approximately a day to produce a piece of chemical dyed leather. However, chromium is a highly toxic chemical that contaminates water and land wherever such cheap leather is manufactured.

The leather produced by this technique is resistant to stains and is soft to touch. Nappa leather is one of these types and are common product of chrome tanning.

Why is Chrome tanning bad?
Chrome tanning is harmful to the environment and is produced with little or no skill required in mass quantities.

It does not last long and use well just like our miu miu nappa leather biker bags which cracked and peeled off shockingly after we used it for less than a month.

Chrome tanned leather often reeks of chemicals and scratches cannot be buffed out easily.

Vegetable or Natural Tanning

"Vegetable tanning is an ancient and traditional craft process that tanneries have passed down over the years." - BillAmberg, Luxury leather goods London based designer.

Creating natural tanned leather is a time-consuming process that can take up to two months. 

It's the best way to show leather is its natural state and witness the skill and craftsmanship behind the tanning process by looking at the finished product.

Vegetable or natural leather tanning uses plant-based natural tannins such as woods, barks, fruits, and leaves.

Look out next week for part two of our special feature story on the leather goods business industry where we've interviewed an industry veteran leather bag craftsman from Italy to share his views. We will also touch on the advantages of vegetable, natural tanned leather.

Friday, May 22, 2015

PLL Star Style: Sasha Pieterse

Our favourite Pretty Little Liars starlet South African actress Sasha Pieterse also known as Alison Di Laurentis or A on the hit teen TV drama show is down-to-earth in real life. Sasha's Instagram account mostly features her friends and centers little around herself, proving she's not just another self-absorbed and vain Hollywood actress.

Season six of Pretty Little Liars will première on June 2 which is less than two weeks away.

Here's our favourite street style and red-carpet close-ups of the adorable, baby-faced Sasha Pieterse.

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Style tip #1: A Lesson in Leather

Sasha wears a cute leather pencil skirt and T-bar high heel sandals for a sweet yet sexy look.

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Style tip #2: The Long and Short of It

Always pair tall boots with mini dresses for that illusion of longer, slimmer legs. 

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Style tip #3: Sweet Sixteen

Forget about dressing your age. It's all about mixing and matching to achieve a fine balance. One can look forever sixteen or sixty depending on the choice of outfits, hairstyling and make-up.

Sasha Pieterse wears a lovely pair of tan over-the-knee high heel boots with a pop of neon peach, keeping her make-up natural to look sweet instead of scandalous.

Flashback Friday: Sasha's R.P.M music video. 

With strong vocals and an even stronger sense of style, she looks stunning in a silver metallic quilted biker jacket and naturally fits the country music singer look.

Which is your favourite Sasha look from over the years?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bohemian, Girly and Sophisticated Lookbook

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This week's Midweek Inspiration feature is inspired by Lindsey Wixon's fashion editorial for Saks Fifth Avenue's Spring Summer 2015 Beauty catalogue. We present three different fashion styles you you can try out with the make-up enthused by Lindsey's look.

Look #1. Bohemian Goddess 
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Being bohemian is all about embracing colours in your life. Bid goodbye sombre tones of black and white and hello to rainbow colours of the world!

Line your eyes with an electric blue line and choose a matte tone frosty pinkish beige tone lipstick.

What to Wear
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1. Fringe suede jacket with beaded embellishments, Etro.
2. White wool fedora, Rag and Bone.
3. Florida blue and white floral print play-suit, Princess Polly.
4. Bellflower lace-up gladiator sandals with hand-stitched pattern and details, Free People.

Look #2. Girly Chic 
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It's all about the eyes and lips for a babydoll, girly look. Use lash extensions or a mascara base coat before applying lash thickening and lengthening mascara.

Apply a soft pink lipstick with a shimmer tone and add shiny gloss in the same colour or clear gloss to complete the look.

What to Wear
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1. Brodee embroidered silk-faille top with ruffled hem, Tibi.
2. Patent leather and suede cropped jacket in purple, Burberry Prorsum.
3. Pleated crepe de chine maxi skirt in beige, Vionnet.
4. Suede espadrille sandals, Miu Miu.

Look #3. Glamour and Sophistication
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Simple, lined eyes and a matte, bright red lipstick is the look of a confident woman who means business.

What to Wear
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1. Cropped python snakeskin jacket, Saint Laurent.
2. Lamé blouse and cropped pants, Pedro Del Hierro Madrid.
3. Handcrafted white gold multi-stone Cancer zodiac earrings, Lydia Courteille 
4. Fringe leather mini shoulder bag in yellow, Miu Miu.
5. Savannah embellished denim sandals, Charlotte Olympia

Friday, May 15, 2015

Flashback: Dolce and Gabbana Star Collection

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MariaCarla Boscono's magnificent cowboy star shaped clip-on earrings punctuated her runway look.

Today's Flashback Friday feature is inspired by our favourite looks from the iconic Dolce and Gabbana star-studded runway collection from Fall Winter 2011 after stumbling onto an old paper bag with gold star charms.

Back in 2011, sequins adorned virtually every single item on the runway on Dolce and Gabbana's famous Miss Sicily bags, star-printed dresses, shoes and fur coats.

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As beautiful as a clear night sky covered in stars, Vlada Roslyakova struts along in a floor-length all-over star printed silk chiffon dress and blue Miss Sicily handbag with star chains.

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Ginta Lapina wears a gold layered chain necklace studded with stars and Swarovski crystals.

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Mini snap frame purses in leather and sequin adorn the top of a high-waisted skirt.

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Androgynous-chic: This exotic, luxe-punk look features a luxurious purple velvet fedora, shearling collar goat hair coat with star dyed prints, sequin trousers and burgundy patent leather oxfords.

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Liu Wen looks cute in a mini silk star-printed dress with a ruffled bottom paired with a whimsical musical note print calf-hair waist pouch and gold sequinned lace-up brogues.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Midweek Inspiration: Lindsay Lohan T-shirt Dress

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How do you make a simple grey T-shirt look awesome? Take a few style tips from Lindsay Lohan as seen out and about in London last week in a T-shirt worn as a mini dress.

Jazz up the simple T-shirt with a bright blue wool coat and pair it with simple slouchy boots to transform the casual T-shirt attire into an instantly more polished and refined look.

Lindsay's ginger tresses are messily braided as she pairs it with a pair of aviators. She's certainly had a bit of style influence from British WAGs (Wives and Girlfriends of High Profile Sportsmen) or simply footballers' wives.

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Flash and work those gams in a sexy cotton T-shirt just like Lindsay for a cool and effortless, youthful look.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

MOSCHINO's MILEY WILD Spring Summer Collection

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Are You An Overt or Covert Fashion Lover? Depending on where you stand, Moschino's Spring Summer 2015 Barbie-theme runway collection is not for the faint-hearted.

Capturing the three hottest returning for trends in our edit above are (from left to right) the following runway styles:

1) Cropped tops or bustiers
Don't be afraid to ditch those plain mono colour bustiers and opt for those with snazzy nineties-inspired color paper graphic prints.

2) Patent leather clothing
This pretty pink candy-wrapper patent leather dress with an easy-to-wear and cheeky long zip on the front from Moschino will be sure to turn heads.

3) Denim Re-imagined
Denim in it's original blue self is nothing but boring and screams plain Jane. Embellished with sequins, bleached, and coated gold, denim takes another form of a new life in Moschino's runway show.

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Sporty spice and everything nice. Old-school roller-blades are the new practical heels.

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Remember those rubber cowboy boots you used to put on a Barbie doll's feet? Now their back only in real life and better.

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Blaze the runway and beyond in a blinding white pair of cowboy boots which is cute and more comfortable than strappy sandals anytime.

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Moschino's beautiful biker jacket can be worn as a cropped jacket, skirt or handbag. Pick your choice.

Runway Make-up Tip
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Matchy-matchy outfits with all-over logo printed on never looked so cool. Complete the Barbie-look with a bright pastel pink lipstick.

Did you know that bright pink lipsticks suits every woman regardless of your ethnicity?

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A close-up shot of model Sasha Luss' make-up look for Moschino.

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We recommend YSL's Rouge Volupte lipstick in the shade Fetish Pink although it's old name Malibu Barbie is probably a more appropriate name.

They key to balancing a bright pink lip colour is to keep the make-up simple with minimal blusher and light eye make-up.

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The Spring Summer collection was also inspired by the beach with polka-dot bikini one-piece swimsuits printed onto a bright orange dress and underwear worn as outerwear.

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Go for Gold! Shiny metallics in sexy cuts ruled the runway as Miley Cyrus look-alike model Charlotte Free does a Smiley pose.

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Cute bubble dress with a giant sequins embellished bustier.

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Iridescent mermaid tail ruffle evening dress with over-sized silver sequins. 

Thank you Jeremy Scott for bringing Barbie to life in not-so-boring clothes!

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