|As summer inevitably draws closer, I become more and more overwhelmed by the conundrum of whether to dress properly, or to proverbially 'YOLO it' and my bikinis in public. In the hotter months, it's impossible to wear more than one layer of clothing without dying of perspiration. But as humid and sweaty as Hong Kong gets, I'm not quite prepared to renounce all Asian conventions of modesty. So I've reached a happy compromise through doing what fashion bloggers do best - layering. Leather plus swimwear plus distressed denim is the best combination of edgy and athletic. Think biker chic meets Sports Illustrated - without the boobs.
With the fashion world's current obsession with innerwear as outerwear - exposed slips, bodysuits, bralettes - it's no surprise that swimwear is the next thing to be worn out for the world to see. Modern swimwear is just too beautifully designed to be worn purely to the pool. Australian designer Dion Lee's 2014 Resort collection featured artful constructed swimsuits with digital water prints that were both graphic and fluid . Swimwear brand We Are Handsome turns out fantastically vibrant designs every season that no self-respecting bikini enthusiast (ie. me) can resist. And unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you'll have seen the abundance of Triangl neoprene bikinis taking over every girl's Instagram. For those on a tight budget, high street stores H&M and Cotton On have been taking cues from the runway and have created sleek yet affordable summertime options. In their recent collaboration with supermodel Lara Bingle, Cotton On has designed a line of very modern and fresh swimwear - lots of black and white with the occasional galaxy print. H&M has taken the sporty aesthetic into stride with this summer's swimsuits featuring mesh details and athletic silhouettes. More Kate Upton, less Kim Kardashian - which is definitely a step in the right direction.
Despite the plethora of choices, I'm still partial to the H&M swimsuit in this look. With its lack of color, mesh detailing and Alexander Wang vibes, it ticks all the sartorial boxes. You can understand why I had the conundrum of whether to wear it to the pool, or flaunt it on the streets. But then I realized that I don't have to choose. In fashion, garments can be recontextualized and altered to create a fresh new look. So as much as I liked Robin Thicke's song, the 'blurred lines' in fashion are the ones I like the most.
ASOS FAUX LEATHER JACKET
KSUBI DISTRESSED WHITE DENIM SHORTS
JUICY COUTURE LEATHER MESH ANKLE BOOTS
ALEXANDER WANG ZIPPER SUNGLASSES
A wonder of light and metal...is how I would describe the newly refurbished PMQ on Hollywood Road, Hong Kong. As a former Police Married Quarters (hence the name), it was originally built in 1951 as the first dormitory for Chinese police officers and their families. After falling into disuse at the beginning of the millennium, it was recently renovated and revitalized as a center for creative industries in Hong Kong.
Although the renovations have been in accordance to Hong Kong's shiny and minimal aesthetics (think glass and metal everywhere), the history of PMQ has still been preserved. The existing dormitory structures built in the functional, modernist style were retained, albeit with a fresh coat of paint. At the ground level, there is even a glass viewing area where the original foundations of the site can be seen. With the conservation of historical buildings for fresh industry, PMQ is very much a juxtaposition of old and new. The individual dormitories have been leased to up and coming local designers in Hong Kong, from Susanna Soo to Chocolate Rain, as both a workspace and a place to sell their creations. The open air layout and quirky vibe takes the shopping experience to a new hipster level.
With PMQ being so close to where I live, I'm beyond excited to go and gawp at the shops, as well as take outfit shots next to the hyper sleek architecture. Now if that's not killing two birds with one stone, I don't know what it is.
PMQ 35 ABERDEEN ST, CENTRAL, HONG KONG
Lately, there's been an unnerving resurgence of hats into the fashion scene. In January, singer Pharrell Williams wore a ten gallon Vivienne Westwood giant to the Grammys, causing a complete meltdown of the Internet and the fashion world. Just this month, designers such as Tibi and Christian Siriano showed extravagant headwear for their Fall/Winter 2014 collections, with respective sharp Amish-like brimmed hats and glamorously oversized designs straight out of a Dior New Look catalogue. In my winter looks, even I haven't been able to resist the pull of cozy beanies. Maybe it's because it's cold and we need cosy contraptions to warm our ears. Maybe it's because adorning our fingers, arms and necks has gotten blasé. Or maybe it's just eccentric and fabulous to spice up our outfits with a little something on the head.
Of course, one can't speak of millinery without mentioning the man whose name is practically synonymous with the craft - Katsuya Kamo. The Japanese milliner and hair designer is responsible for many a great headpiece on runways throughout the years, such as the delicate paper roses in the Chanel Spring 2009 Couture collection, and the dark, drapey and sculptural pieces for Junya Watanabe's Fall 2008 collection. Currently, more that 300 pieces by Kamo are on show at Lane Crawford's Hong Kong stores, including exclusive floral works commissioned by Lane Crawford for their spring 'Botanica' theme. If you're in need of hat inspiration for spring, be sure to check out his work in Lane Crawford stores across Hong Kong.
KATSUYA KAMO EXHIBITION
LANE CRAWFORD, TIMES SQUARE
UNTIL APRIL 14 2014
As a child, I was never one to fall head over heels for Disney. We never had their TV channel at home, and Hong Kong (previously) lacked their theme park, thus I always felt a certain indifference towards Hannah Montana, Princess Aurora and what ever Disney shenanigans that my peers were so infatuated with. It's ironic then, that I would take an interest in Mickey Mouse-themed eyewear just as I am transitioning into adulthood.
But contrary to popular belief, I do occasionally inject some fun into my manner of dress. Things have been looking up lately, with the arrival of warm weather (aka. spring) in Hong Kong, and the end to Chinese exams and coursework at school. This calls for lighter dressing in both the literal and metaphorical sense, mixing the coats with camis as well as playing with patterns and accessories. And nothing says fun more than Mickey Mouse sunglasses
LINDA FARROW JEREMY SCOTT SUNGLASSES
AMERICAN RETRO BLACK COAT
ZARA LACE TOP
TOPSHOP BLACK AND WHITE PRINT TROUSERS
ZARA SUEDE LEATHER HIGH HEEL ANKLE BOOTS
Just a quick post in the midst of Chinese exams, internal assessments, and other school stuff that I probably shouldn't bore you with. Hong Kong has been stuck in this weird weather rut in between winter and spring, when it's too cold for shorts yet too hot for turtlenecks. I sort of miss the constant onslaught of snow and chill in Japan, which gave me the excuse to don wool coats and thick jumpers that only see a couple weeks of wear in Hong Kong. This is a compilation of the photos that I took over in Niseko, Sapporo and Nara - evoking nostalgia for Japan's soft-serve ice cream, powdery ski slopes and AMAZING shopping. If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen these before. But who can resist the food porn potential of a cup of matcha tea?
NISEKO, SAPPORO AND NARA
There's something so perfect about a white winter wonderland.
For the past couple of years, it's been a tradition in my side of the family to amass together during the winter months and hole up in Japan for a week or two to consume mass amounts of ramen and sashimi, shop for clothes (me) and antiques (my mom), and most importantly enjoy the phenomenon of snow so unjustly unavailable to us in Hong Kong. Despite that I've visited the ski resort of Niseko six times, the feeling of snowflakes on my fingertips and the view of the town blanketed in white never gets trite. Maybe that's why I always dress in tundra-inappropriate clothing that is way too thin - so I can fully immerse myself in the icy chill of this winter wonderland.
SOMETHING ELSE GREY TURTLENECK SWEATER
H&M WHITE FAUX LEATHER SKIRT
NIKE FREE 5.0+ WOMEN'S RUNNING SHOE
BLACK LEATHER GLOVES
Having read the Japanese novel Snow Country as a student, I always pictured the colder regions of Japan as author Yasunari Kawabata depicted them - bleak, melancholy and desolate. In my many subsequent trips to the Japanese ski resort Niseko, I was pleased to have my expectations defied. Despite the occasional snowy day with zero visibility and the trepidation of skiing blind through blizzard-like conditions, there was many a day with azure skies, crystalline snow and visions of the majestic Mount Yotei. Enjoy the view.
PS. The first photo was taken after a long and arduous hike up to the top of the Niseko peak with ski gear in tow. I really do love you all - I did actual EXERCISE for this.