Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Some random thoughts about architects and fashion designers

I recently had a walk with an old friend and instructor of mine, L. Being an architect herself, she is the wife of a world renowned architect Y and THE woman behind a successful design atelier. I helped the L and Y on some little projects in my junior year at college when they had just returned to China to start their own studio. We had some interactions now and then, including Y's instruction on a design competition I participated in and his recommendation letter supporting my study at MIT. We didn't get a chance to talk after I came to Boston, however, due to our busy schedules and the time difference.

We finally met again in Boston. This time around, they are back to America to develop their careers further. I was so excited once I heard that they were moving over. Years after our first project together, I still respect their work and I am so glad that we are now closer.

Here we are, walking down Newbury Street on a sunny Saturday afternoon. L was in her signature comfortable yet poetic outfit and I was in my combat boots and Doo. Ri coat. I never talked about fashion with Y or L before, but surprisingly, our little walk was all about fashion. Maybe she was too tired at work to talk about it, or maybe it's a common interest we never discovered before. Going through racks of clothes at Alan Bilzerian, we both were excited talking about our favorite designers and designs.

I saw a couple of Y's pictures in publications recently, and I was always curious about what he wore in those pictures. He was once in this wrinkled jacket made of cotton or linen that seemed to be some exquisite designer work. I asked L about it, and she laughed and told me that she only knew one more person who was into fashion as much as Y does. As a matter of fact, the couple is big fans of Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake.

Somebody on theFashionspot made a comment on Yohji Yamamoto's work: they look like those outfits that 1980s architects would wear. They are things that architects love to wear, but not only the 1980s architects. There is beauty in the designs that only certain people can grasp and understand. Architects are sensitive to the beauty and respect it. Today's Y and L look so similar to the Y and L from eight years ago. Their styles didn't change much over eight years. At the same time, looking at Yohji Yamamoto's work, it didn't change much over the years either. There is certain eternity in it.

There are people who do not follow the trends but develop their ideas over the course of their life. Le Corbusier fully used the new technology to develop a column and beam structure and set the walls free. Frank Gehry was inspired by the system and fully utilized it: getting rid of the wild surface, what people will see is still the simple system. Why do walls have to be perpendicular? Why do the turns have to be ninety degrees? Ideas start from there. Same process showed in Rei Kawakubo's work. Why can't clothes be twisted? Why can't clothes be asymmetric? Designers challenge the conventions and break the rules. They have to be brave or powerful enough to design things like that, and sometimes it takes their entire life to be fully understood.

Luckily Y and L's work are understood and recognized by most people already. They no longer need to struggle. But looking back, who didn't have those difficult days developing ideas and empowering themselves? I quit from design because of my impatience to deal with the reality, but I am so glad that there are people who stick to it, and make it shine.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Prioritize purchase and the magical drawstrings

I normally look at what the designers offer twice every season. The first time is when they present the collections in the runway shows and sometimes trunk shows. I memorize the pieces I like and save pictures in my computer. I purchase a couple of them during the season, and then I look at the pictures again right before the big sale starts to prioritize purchase.

I just did my work for the FW05 collections. I'm always amazed by how much my list can change during a couple of months, and there is no exception this season. I fell in love with the controversial Marc Jacobs' collection because of its darkness. I tried a couple of balloon skirts and the cashmere jacket with lace overlays, and I thought that I would buy them when they were on the 70% sale. I didn't do that, however, when I hit the store last Friday for the sale.

Here is why: the jacket alone is cute, but if it is not worn with one of the dark looking bottoms, the jacket will look too sweet. The jacket alone costs $900 at sale, and I can't really wear it with most of my clothes in my closet. So I passed.

My interest switched to something more experimental instead - Junya Watanabe. The collection is too avant-garde at first sight, but months later, I found it versatile yet fresh.

A major element in the collection is the drawstrings. The tightened drawstrings create volume, and when they are loosened, the clothes can go back to the regular shape. Junya Watanabe experimented with drawstrings on jackets and skirts to play with proportion and volume. I ordered a white cotton jacket and a black wool dress, both with drawstrings. I found them even more playful when I put them on. There are drawstrings vertically on the front, under the collar, and horizontally on the back. By loosening and tightening different drawstrings, I created different proportion and volumes. It's a game, and the jacket is a toy.
Junya Watanabe - Jing's Fashion Review

The dress is also cut in a novel way to accentuate curves. The seams are not stitched together; instead, they are melted together with strings of rubber. The drawstrings are more like decoration in this case, and it makes the body like a corset. I can't imagine how Junya created the dress. It's just so brilliant.

Junya Watanabe - Jing's Fashion Review

It's not the first time Junya used drawstrings. Similar looks were seen in the spring '03 parachute collection although the mood was completely different. The '03 collection is combat trend in spring and the light fabric looks drifty. The fall '05 collection, however, is in a dark mood and the thicker material apparently helps to create volume. The girls look dark yet innocent. Junya wasnt afraid to use the same language, but the stories he told were totally different.

Junya Watanabe - Jing's Fashion ReviewJunya Watanabe - Jing's Fashion ReviewJunya Watanabe - Jing's Fashion Review

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Remote control

I had a very nice plan last weekend to go down to NYC for my Christmas shopping. I made my own maps with dots indicating the shops and I also organized the shops to three different groups based on the locations with detailed transportation directions. I put maps, cereal bars, a bottle of water, and disinfecting wipes in my bag. I even had my combat boots ready for the hours of walking. After getting ready for the trip, however, the weatherman said that it would snow in New England area on Sunday. Even worse, I got sick after a party on Saturday.

No trip to NYC.

It is my life after marriage: my weekends are filled with family parties, and as a result, I have no time shopping!

Plan B: remote control it is. Although I can't go to the shopping paradise physically, my cell phone can help. I am so fond of a couple of items from the Comme des Garcons collection and the Junya Watanabe collection that I decided to get them NOW. These collections are so beautiful and wearable that they will be gone within the first week of the initial mark down in department stores. It is indeed difficult to order clothes through phone calls especially something from the Rei and Junya. Their works are never conventional so are the shapes. How do you describe Frank Gehry's buildings? It's easy to describe them in general, but it is a mission impossible if there are a couple of them and every single item is "deconstructed". Both the SA and I tried very hard to communicate, but eventually we both just laughed. Finally, the SA was nice enough to find a couple of items in my size and she sent them over for me to try on (I don't even know two of them items…just imagined). I hope that all the pieces work out and I'll report back.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

This is how my wardrobe grows...how does yours?

I recently purchased an adorable Viktor&Rolf skirt from Aloharag.com. It's a satin blue skirt with polka dots. I knew that it was not an easy piece to work with, but I couldn't say no to the cute details and the attractive price, so I purchased it with the confidence that I am going to make it work.

I posted on the Fashion Spot (tFS) and I received very helpful advice on what to wear with it. The only problem is that I don't own anything that compliments the skirt yet. One girl said that I shouldn't make such impulsive purchase before I have sufficient basics to work with. It made me think. Why don't I have enough basic pieces? How did my wardrobe grow through the recent years? Should I start buying more basics?

I didn't start building up my wardrobe until I started working two and half years ago. Having been a student living on a tight budget, I was, and I am still very cheap on basics. Why does a "basic" white shirt cost $200? Why does a "basic" wool sweater cost $600? I never get it. I only buy basics whenever necessary. For example, I used to own exactly four pairs of dress pants to cover the pant needs from Monday to Thursday and one pair of jeans for Friday. (I mostly wore skirts during weekends.) At the same time, I can never resist a piece of nicely designed clothes and I would like to pay big bucks for them. I then look for the right basics to compliment my statement pieces to make sure I wear them often. This is how my wardrobe grew over the past two and half years, and that's why I don’t have enough basics: I simply work backwards when it comes to building up my wardrobe.

Should I buy more basics then? Yes I should, especially in this sales season. But how should I prioritize, for instance, what sweater should I buy? Vneck or scoop neck? Grey or camel? Navy or royal blue? Fitted or loose fitting? I find the options overwhelming and I can't prioritize. When I went to Saks to go through racks of basics, I realized that I'd rather purchase basics for complimenting my statement pieces than buy basics and let them sit in my closet waiting for the right item to work with. I'm a collector. If I am a director in a gallery, I am not going to purchase all kinds of frames and store them in the basement. Instead, I am going to gather the art works, and then looking for the frames.

Back to the Viktor&Rolf skirt. I eventually found a picture from the runway, and it seems to me that the best way to make it work is to wear a white shirt under a grey scoop neck sweater. To be specific, the shirt has to be silk or silk blend and the sweater has to be light weight, cold grey with similar shade to the skirt's blue, the waist has to be fitted, and it has to fall right on the waist of the skirt. You see, there are too many specifics. I would not know which grey sweater to buy if I didn't make my impulsive purchase of the skirt. So I guess I will keep working backwards on my wardrobe.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Are we being judged?

My experience in the past week proved again that fashion is very subjective and even judgmental. I posted my daily outfits on two different fashion forums where I participate actively. The members on the two forums have totally different cultural backgrounds: most of the members in the first forum have more conservative or classic taste; the second group of people is adventurous and lots of them are fashion insiders. (Okay, let me tell you, the second forum is http://www.thefashionspot.com/ (tFS).

I posted seven days of outfits on both forums and they are consists of conservative office outfits and bold looks worn on weekends. While the reactions on my office outfits were similar, tFSers were very fond of the more adventurous pieces and the other forum was exactly the opposite. For instance, I recently got this asymmetric red Ann Demeulemeester jacket. The jacket doesn't fit as a traditional jacket with the fabric snagging and draping on different parts of the body. I paired the jacket with a pair of mud color Stella McCartney drain pipes. The entire outfit was just exciting and amazing for the folks on tFS, but it was just wrong for some people on the first forum with one guy even asking me why my jacket was off-center and one girl feeling so bad for me wasting my money. Reading the opposite comments from people with different tastes, especially reading the mean words, I suddenly felt I was being judged.

I am not alone. There are lots of fashionistas on tFS such as the beautiful guys whom I can only see on Dior Homme's runway show or in the fashionable cities such as NYC or Brussels. Are they going to be judged if they live in, say, Boston? Sure they are. Maybe it is the price we have to pay to make different fashion choices.

Ms. Maureen Dowd wrote about how women were judged too much on what we wore in her book "Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide", but I found the judgment towards both sexes. Men seem to be judged less because most of them are more afraid of being judged and so they dress more conservatively. Men and women are all judged based on our appearance and our fashion preference.

Luckily, there are still people such as the tFSers who enjoy the coat from Yohji Yamamoto, the jacket from Martin Margiela, and the belt from Ann Demeulemeester despite the potential judgment. TFS is like a cult with the people who enjoy looking at each other's unique outfits and encouraging each other to be even more adventurous. When we are off the internet and face our city or simply a different fashion forum, we are judged, sometimes in a bad way. It's good to know, but it doesn't affect how we dress and express ourselves.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Skinny pants

Skinny pants have been in the fashion scene for years. From Kate Moss to Sienna Miller, from mail delivery guys to rock stars, skinny pants gained an important seat in the fashion world and are frequently featured in fashion magazines.

I just went through the process of finding my perfect skinny pants. Most of the preppy brands such as JCrew or Banana Republic don't produce skinny pants, so the best places to go are the European designer brands and designer denims. When you shop for the perfect skinny pants, don't forget to wear a pair of high heels. Most of the girls don't have models' legs to look good in skinny jeans, and so the mirrors in the shops can be very discouraging if you don’t have a pair of heels to elongate the legs.

My first pair of skinny jeans is from Martin Margiela's line 6. It is made of 100% cotton, low waist, and with grayish blue color. I never thought that Martin Margiela made skinny jeans, but apparently the basic line 6 considers it one of the must haves.

My latest purchase is a pair of Stella McCartney corduroy skinny pants. In fact, I ordered eight pairs of pants from http://www.yoox.com/ but only that pair fit me perfectly. Among the six pairs of pants, the MiuMiu pair was the most disappointing pants. The material felt cheap and it was a shapeless Italian size 38. Balenciaga is the king of pant makers, but I didn't realize that I needed to wear French size 34 nowadays after a brutal summer in Boston. All the Balenciagas I ordered were size 36, so apparently they didn't work. It's not Nicolas Ghesquiere's fault though. Same thing happened to the Costume National pants. They are good looking but slightly loose on me. The Stella McCartney pants are stretchy, and the corduroy is as soft as a thin layer of silk. The details are amazing and the "Stella" on the pocket just makes them look delicious.

When looking for styling tips, I often refer to Stella McCartney's runway pictures for inspiration. Stella herself showed up on the runway with a chunky knit sweater and the drain pipes look gorgeous on her. When the pants are this tight, a loose top will balance out. At the same time, make sure the top is long enough to cover the middle part. Very long top will cover the entire bum and leave only the legs shown, which create an illusion of super long legs. Lots of models wear ankle length skinny jeans, but I believe that most of the people will look better with pants covering the heels. One exception is to wear a YSL look with ankle length pants and platform shoes. The ankles can be very sexy, and the platform shoes will balance the look and elongate legs.

To summarize the styling tips, let me use a couple of pictures to demonstrate:

Picture #1
Stella McCartney on runway (picture courtesy of http://www.style.com/)
Chucky sweater balances the entire outfit and creates a leggy look. Long pants (with zippers open) cover the heels and it makes the proportion right.
Stella McCartney skinny pants - Jing's Fashion Reviews

Picture #2
Kate Moss candid picture (Picture courtesy of Getty Imiges)
Skinny jeans tucked in round toe boots. The boots are the Marc Jacobs round toe boots with four inches of heels. It gives her a Rock & Roll look instantly. Kate Moss in skinny jeans - Jing's Fashion Reviews
Picture #3
Imitation of Christ runway picture (picture courtesy of http://www.style.com/)
High waist skinny jeans elongate the torso. To balance the look, a pair of red stiletto attracts the focus and gives the body a great proportion. Avoid too many embellishments on jeans and keep the silhouette clean.Imitation of Christ skinny pants - Jing's Fashion Reviews

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Runway to Real Way - Balenciaga Spring '06 Collection

Many of my friends were speculating on the prices and the real life looks of Nicolas Ghesquiere's semi-couture collection showed in Paris a month ago. The collection hit the stores in the past weeks for the trunk shows where consumers were able to place orders in advance. Some of my friends were able to attend the trunk shows, and I also talked to the sales associate at the Balenciaga boutique about the collection specifics.

The more managable pieces in the collection are the T-shirts and pant suits. There are tanks and turtleneck T-shirts shown on the runway, but only the tanks will be in production. The graphic consists of pearl and metal embellishments and the price is $975 each.
Balenciaga Spring '06 Collection - Jing's Fashion Reviews

The jackets are priced from $2,000 to $4,000 depending on the details. All the jackets are made of a kind of silk fabric called cashemire. Balenciaga purchased the fabric from a French mill for the coming three years so that people will not see the same fabric in any other brands. The jackets are not lined while the immaculate cut provides an extremely structured look. From the chain closure to the laser cut lace overlay, the details are breathtaking.
Balenciaga Spring '06 Collection - Jing's Fashion Reviews

The pants are sold separately and the price is from $900+ to $1,300 which is inline with the pants in other Balenciaga collections.

The dresses are the most amazing pieces in the collection as Nicolas Ghesquiere used Cristobal Balenciaga’s construction techniques and the light-faded fabrics originally produced in 1960s. The dresses are made by hand, and with almost five digit price tags, we will not see them often in real life. The good news is that Balenciaga also provides two capsule collections including the Balenciaga clothes from the archives called Edition and the less expensive Balenciaga basics such as pant suits. I am sure that Balenciaga fans like me will have plenty of choice this year.
*The new production v.s. the dresses from Balenciaga's archives. Can you tell the difference?
(Picture courtesy of Showstudio.com)

Balenciaga Spring '06 Collection - Jing's Fashion Reviews*Kate Moss in Edition (Picture Courtesy of W magazine)

Balenciaga Spring '06 Collection - Jing's Fashion Reviews

Monday, October 31, 2005

How to find a good tailor?

You probably recall from the previous article that I bought a Roland Mouret dress from Net-a-porter.com. It was a little big on me, so I had it altered by my tailor Richard. One of my friends said that I was so lucky to find a good tailor, and the dress turned out perfect. The truth is that finding a good tailor is not only about luck.
I tried a couple of tailors including the ones in Louis Boston. The work they did was indeed not satisfying because they didn't understand how my skirt was constructed, nor did I explained. I learned a lesson from that experience: to find a good tailor especially for complex jobs, we have to do our own research and communicate with the tailor very well.

I believe that good tailors are everywhere. We find them by word of the mouth, by citysearch.com, or by the recommendations from the stores where our garments are purchased. Those tailors normally have very good skills which is the key to good alteration.

Most of the designer items are constructed differently from the way the mass-produced clothes are made in order to achieve better fit or express certain design concepts. Unfortunately, most of the jobs taken by the tailors are for mass-produced clothes, so we need to do our homework to find out if the clothes can be tailored and even how. For instance, I looked at the dress closely to find out where the seams were and how it could be taken in. It was not wasting time because some lazy tailors tend to take the easy way out with the sacrifice of the quality. In the case of a skirt, a tailor might just add two darts on the waist to take it in, but chances are, the darts will change the shape of the skirt dramatically. If you want to see a good result, do your homework.

Communication is equally important. Tailors like to know what the customers want. If I tell a tailor I want a skirt to be taken in, the tailor doesn't know how small is too small. By sitting on a chair to try the fit, I am able to tell the tailor the exact fit. Tailors like that because they don't want to risk their work. To make sure the tailor understood the way I wanted the dress to be altered, I showed Richard how the dress was constructed, then I asked him if it made sense to take in from the seam on the center. Richard appreciated what I thought and agreed with me. I also asked him to move the belt higher and added two little strapes inside of the should strap to hold the bra, and he adjusted accordingly. Good communication helped.

Those are my secrets to work with my tailor for the best fit. Of course, the best case is that we never need to have anything tailored and everything fits perfectly. But just incase you want to make the fits perfect, I hope that my tips help a little.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Roland Mouret quits

Only one week after I purchased my first Roland Mouret dress, the designer quit from his company, and his name.

As a self-taught designer, Roland Mouret is famous for the drapes on garments and by the process he designs clothes. Instead of drawing 2D pictures on paper, Roland designs clothes by hanging fabric on women's bodies and letting the fabric drape. Looking at my own dress closely, I realized that it was made of one piece of cloth with folds and drapes. "It was like in the movies, when you would see a couple in bed after making love, and there would be the woman, with just a sheet wrapped around her." Roland explained his concept in an interview with Telegraph Fashion. It is exactly how I feel wearing the dress. It's quiet yet very sexy.

Roland Mouret received financial support from Sharai Meyers five years ago to produce clothes under his own name. As return, Roland Mouret essentially sold his name to his business partner. Once Roland Mouret quits from the company six months later, as the consequence, he will not be able to design clothes under his own name again. It is an extremely sad situation especially for such a talented designer like Roland Mouret. According to Telegraph Fashion, Roland is currently on sick leave suffering from stress.

One of my friends said that she never realized how tough it was to be a fashion designer. The truth is that it is an extremely competitive industry, and often times, the designers who have true talent have to sacrifice to gain financial support. We saw Jil Sander leave, we saw Helmut Lang leave, and now we saw Roland Mouret leave. All of them are talented designers, yet all of them gave up their own names.

Sharai Meyers made a comment that Roland Mouret was always part of a team, and she hoped that the team could continue. Does it work? Will the team able to develop the designer's ideas after the designer departs?

Roland answered, "I was the only designer. If there's something I'm proud of, it's my technique. I do not sketch on paper or think in 2D, I drape on the body, and I evolved that in the studio with technical people, who then made the patterns. Yes, they own the patterns. They can make re-editions. But I do not believe that when women are spending £800-£1,000 on a dress, that they want to buy a copy - of the past." Mrs. Meyers apparently forgot the difference between a designer and a technician.

Feeling very sad about Roland's departure, here I am sharing my favorite Roland Mouret designs with you. I went through all his past collections on style.com, and it was quite a journey to look at how Roland evolved over the past five years. I am sure that Roland Mouret will continue, and no matter where he goes, I will follow.
FW '00

Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review

SS '01
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review

FW '01
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review

SS '02
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review

FW '02
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review

SS '03
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review

FW '03
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review

SS '04
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review

FW '04
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review

SS '05
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review

FW '05
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review

SS '06
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review
Roland Mouret - Jing's Fashion Review

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The year of dresses

I have never been into dresses as I am right now. The spring 2006 runway show offered more dress options than ever. After looking at most of the collections, the strongest impression in my mind is the dresses. With my wedding ceremony on the way, I also get more excuses to purchase nice dresses for events like my bridal shower and the rehearsal dinner.

The first dress I purchased this year is a Marc by Marc Jacobs bubble dress. I like the volume and the rose print, and I was lucky to secure the last piece available in the boutique.

Roland Mouret is a designer whom I always respect very much. He was famous for the draping looks and the couturish details on the garments. I recently purchased a cotton tweed dress from his spring '05 collection that I was not able to secure from the past Louis Boston sale. In fact, I ran to the rest room in my office to try it on right after I received it, and I loved every single stitch of it. The signature collar is so elegant with just the right opening to show off my collar bone. The open back revealed a little skin yet a wide band on the back hides the bra inside. (What a caring detail!) A self belt also defines the curves. I spend ten minutes to study how it was made. It was indeed very simple: the only seam on the dress was on the center of the back, and the only thing the tailor needs to do is to adjust the back seam if any alteration is needed. Brilliant.

Enjoying my new dress, I am thinking ahead for the coming year. To freshen up my look, I will be wearing more dresses for work, for the dinners out, for the weekend shopping spree, and for my bachelorette party. I've picked a couple of dresses from the resort collections as well as the spring runway shows. I will share with you as I believe that year 2006 is the year of dresses.

This Hussein Chalayan dress is a cute yet unique day dress. Nude and sand tone colors are going to be very popular in the coming spring. A little details will definitely make you stand out.
This Louis Vuitton dress is from the resort collection. It reminds me the sea, the spring air, and the beach. Effortless chic.
A perfect dress to carry you from day to night. Alberta Ferretti

If you happen to have a tiny waist, this dress will make you look ultra feminine. I love how the fabric reflects the light. Lanvin by Alber Elbaz

I won't be surprised if the following dresses show on one of the red carpet events. Rochas

The blues are just magical. Roland Mouret

*Picture courtesy of Style.com

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Here comes my new coat

As you could tell from the last article, I was quite frustrated by my coat-searching this winter. When I was wandering in Louis Boston on this rainy Saturday, surprisingly, I found my new coat.

First of all, I was totally impressed by Louis Boston's winter collection this year. The buyer seemed to be more aggressive to me as collections by new designers such as Doo. Ri and Bon & Ging were featured on floor. I also found a couple of coats in my size, which rarely happened to me. As my last effort to find a new coat, I tried on a Bon & Ging coat, three Balenciaga coats, a Roland Mouret coat, and a Doo. Ri coat.

The Bon & Ging coat was loose on me and the material seemed limp. As much as I respect the new design duo, the quality of the coat does not justify the $1,000 + price tag.

While the entire Balenciaga coat collection is breathtaking, only a few people are able to pull it off. The problem for all the military style coats is that they are all boxy. The boxy shape looked cool on runway, but it totally covers the curves women are proud of.

The details on the Roland Mouret coat give it a distinctive couture look. An extra piece on the back drapes from the collar and elongates the entire silhouette. The smallest size available was a British size 8 (American size 2), but the shoulders were too wide on me; the draped piece was also so heavy that it pulled me down. Although that coat was not suitable for me, I highly recommend it to anybody who is above 5'10" because of the tailored body and the fine material.

Compared with all the above coats, the Doo. Ri coat got everything right. The size 2 is true to size, the belt defines my waist, the pure wool material is tightly knitted, and the signature Doo. Ri cape provides extra dimension to the coat and keeps me warm. The sleeves were a little long on me, but Louis Boston offers free tailoring service. The retail price is $1,125, which is quite reasonable for such a nicely made coat. At the moment when I almost gave up my coat search, here came my perfect coat.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The opportunity cost of waiting

There was an article in the weekend Wall Street Journal, Escaping the Fashion Trap. The author suggested, "hold off on shopping at the beginning of a season". According to the author, waiting will improve consumers' odds of buying something that will have staying power and waiting can also help consumers to take advantage of the sales and pay less. She stated, "items sold out in boutiques can often still be found online".

My experience was completely the opposite, however. If you follow my blog, you might have read the article THE sale is only two months away. Let me give you an early update on my shopping luck.

The Yohji Yamamoto coat. I went to NYC in the past weekend and I tried the coat on at Barney's New York. It was gorgeous but I decided to wait for the sale. Waiting will save me $1,000. Two days later, however, I was informed that the coat was sold.

I also tried the same coat in the Yohji Yamamoto boutique. For some reason, that coat was bigger than the coat I tried on at Barney’s although both were size 1. I received a phone call today that the tailor was not able to adjust the shoulders due to the complicated construction of the coat. Therefore, I will have to pass because I don't want to pay for $3,000 buying a coat that doesn't fit.

I called a couple of stores. Alan Bilzerian in Boston also sells the same coat, but it was gone months ago and Bergdorf Goodman doesn't carry this specific coat. I am screwed.

I was also fond of the Balenciaga military coats. By the time I visited NYC, all the size 36 coats were sold. Louis Boston didn't even buy size 36. Those designer clothes are rarely available online.

I am paying the price of waiting. I have been dreaming about my statement coat for months and I've got nothing.

Anther important item in my wish list is a Lanvin skirt. First of all, Lanvin has very exclusive distribution; secondly, stores rarely purchase small sizes for somebody like me. The Lanvin racks at Barneys was almost empty when I visited.

I'm not sure if I am able to find the Marc Jacobs short jacket with Peter Pan collar when the sale starts. Frustrated by my shopping luck, I don't even care about that jacket any longer.

I also ordered a top from Chanel. A month has past, and I received nothing. The boutique needed to order the top from the Paris headquarter but the production and shipping have been delayed due to European vacations. I should have ordered it in the trunk show back in May.

If I am lucky, I will be able to find my Ann Demeulemeester clothes, Balenciaga slim pants, and something from Roland Mouret. However, my major acquisition goal is not achieved.

Not being able to purchase your dream clothes is the opportunity cost of waiting. The WSJ author might have a point of waiting for the sale, but for the hot items, you have to place the order right after the runway show. We need to have either sharp eyes to identify the hot items or a sufficient shopping budget to purchase clothes early in the season. I've decided to change my shopping strategy and place my order in trunk shows for the spring '06 season. Considering the opportunity cost of waiting, it is worth it to pay the full price for my dream items.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Paris Fashion Show (Finale)

Are the last the best?

Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
Louis Vuitton

Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche

Stefano Pilati just offered us another perfect show. The waist was accentuated again by wide woven belts and the waistline remained high. Ruffles and pompoms embellished the clothes and the details were breathtaking. The only problem to me was that they were not very wearable to people like you and me. Who can take that much ruffles during daytime? At the same time, if you are looking for outfits to make you shine in parties, YSL gives you plenty of choice.

Designer Alber Elbaz’s creation was inspired by the “perfect” Geisha. The shoulders were sharper and the neckties added mannish feeling. The collection somewhat reminded me YSL. Suzy Menkes used the word “hard-edged” to describe some of the clothes. However, Geisha means stiff instead of “heard-edged” to me, and this show gave me the stiff feeling instead. I wish that Alber made more womanly and beautiful dresses in this collection.

Louis Vuitton
Marc Jacobs turned to a completely different direction after his successful FW05 Louis Vuitton show. The clothes are mostly loud and young. Beautiful pieces are here and there, but some of the outfits and bags are too tacky. I am curious to see if they will make any adjustments to the collection before the clothes hit the store. After all, the Vuitton women are elegant and looking for perfection.