Monday, December 18, 2006

Cloak to be closed

I'm sure this news will upset my dear friend Faust very much. Although my experience with Cloak is only from a couple of pictures online, one visit to the boutique in Soho, and one conversation with the designer Alexandre Plokhov at Barneys, I feel deeply sad about what happened.
I bumped into Plokhov on a Sunday afternoon at the Barneys in NYC. I was in the shoe department, and I saw a familiar face from the "Seamless" DVD - Alexandre Plokhov. He was with his wife shopping.

His wife is a strong career woman with a big heart as far as I know. I remembered that my tears down when I watched Seamless when they went through difficult times with an ocean between them. The couple on that Sunday though, were relaxed and happy.

Alexandre's wife purchased a Balenciaga little black dress, and I happened to be around, too. (I was seriously like stalking them due to our similar shopping pace and I had to go to a different direction eventually trying to avoid bumping into them all the time. It was really awkward.) Alexandre made a comment on the fit, and then they decided to purchase it with Alexandre altering the dress for her. I felt so jealous of her having a designer husband at that moment.

We then had a brief chat. Alexandre was surprised at first that somebody would recognize him. Then I mentioned that I admired his wife very much for her full support. She blushed and leaned towards him. Then they mentioned that they were looking for a good financial backer. Alexandre wanted to do a women's line, but they needed money for it. I wish I had millions to do something, but apparently I don't. He sounded serious and concerned back then, but I was still surprised by the news today.

It's so sad that true designers like him can not keep the business for long. It's a fundamental conflict between being commercial and being creative. I just wish them the best.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Who is driving the SALE?

You probably have sensed that the sale started very early this year. Almost all department stores started sale, or private sale, before Thanksgiving.

What happened? Who started first? What are the consequences?

It started with the Neiman Marcus private sale two weeks before Thanksgiving. There was a link to the department store's website with the entire Chloe and Alexander McQueen's ready-to-wear collection at 30% off. The private sale only lasted for one day, but many bag lovers grabbed the Chloe bags within hours.

When I visited Bergdorf Goodman at around the same time, I was informed by the sales people that they could put certain items on hold for me as pre-sale. I was surprised by how early it came, but went ahead to pick up some clothes without hesitation.

Then the domino fell. All department stores including Saks Fifth Avenue started "pre-sell" a week from the Thanksgiving fearing that the customers would be drawn to Neiman Marcus only.

Why did they start the sale so early this year? The economy is doing well, and the stock market is at historic high. They could have kept selling things at retail price hoping that the bankers buy those nice gifts before Christmas. But the stores didn't wait.

One related event was a comment made by Mr. Prada in a fashion award event. He called for early fashion show schedule and gained support from major department stores in the US to stock their pre-collection inventory months ahead of the normal time. It also seemed to me that the department stores increased their budget for cruise (pre-spring) collections and increased their inventory. If that was the case, then it totally made sense for the department stores to mark down the price early just so they made enough room for the cruise collection shipments.

As the last part of the sale chain, small business felt the pressure. All those boutiques selling contemporary clothing are now marking things down to 30% to 80% off the original price already. The Alexander McQueen boutique received customer's phone call right after the Neiman Marcus private sale requesting an earlier sale. The store started their private sale days before their normal schedule due to the customer requests they received.

I am very curious to see what happens next year. Is it a new practice now? Is it going to be sustainable? Well, the bottom line is that we consumers and fashion lovers gain. At least I've got my long-waited Alexander McQueen clothes and my Fendi skirt.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

It is a shoe season......

The winter sales are going to start. When I am prioritizing my purchases during the sale season, I realized that it's such a shoe season.

Do you remember the last winter? The whole winter was dominated by Balenciaga's military coats and Stella McCartney's bubble coats. I hesitated between a Balenciaga coat and a Yohji Yamamoto coat but ended up with a very fitted grey wool coat from Doo.Ri.

This year, however, nobody made any memorable coats. Instead, many designers sent models down the runway strutting in gorgeous shoes. There are platform shoes from Gucci, YSL, Christian Louboutin, and Fendi, beautiful heels from Alexander McQueen (what a season for Lee!), and the over-the-knee boots from Chanel. Together with the puffy jackets or skirts, The shoes completely changed our proportion. So when you are doing the same thing as I am, updating the wishlists, make sure you put down a couple of pairs of shoes on it. For the next winter season, I think, the designers will impress us with different things. Maybe bags, maybe coats, but not shoes. It's a shoe season, so cherish it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I'm back from Paris!

Hi guys,
I didn't forget about you. Rob and I visited Paris last week for our anniversary and we just returned. We had a wonderful time! I will update with my stories and some pictures later!



Sunday, October 15, 2006

Review on the Marc Jacobs SS07 collection-post trunk show

It's finally the right time to share my view on the Marc Jacobs collection after experiencing the clothes at the trunk show.

Marc always has great ideas, and he is not afraid of using the elements from other designers to complete his ideas. This time around, Marc wanted to present the lightness. He used fabrics such as gauze, muslin, and lightweight silk that look like candy wraps. To balance the sheer looks, he used metallic leather, metallic sequins, tweed, and cotton gabardine to form more structured looks.

There were three kinds of metallic shown on runway: a metallic shirt made of paper, metallic leather, and metallic sequins. The Japanese made clothes with durable paper many years ago, but Marc introduced the paper fabric with a metallic coating to create a worn yet shiny effect. It was priced at $300 range, and I won't be surprised if many young people fall in love with it: I tried the silver shirt on, and I saw an updated "boyfriend's shirt" look on me instantly. The dress with metallic sequins was gorgeous. Not only the sequins reflected the light with a metallic shine but created great draping looks. The beautiful dress full of sequins was priced at more than $7,000, expensive but it made sense. The metallic leather jackets, however, felt stiff and lifeless. I'd rather pay less and purchase a jacket made of synthetic fabric to get the same look.

Another group of clothes were the deconstructed pieces. There were shredded T-shirts, shredded T-shirt dresses as well as deconstructed knit wear. They reminded me Martin Margiela, Comme des Garcons' "broken bride" collection, and Cristobal Balenciaga. Marc was not afraid of using bold reference to complete his concepts, but the dress on Stam showed so much reference that I felt slightly uncomfortable.

The prices on the T-shirt dreses were not sensible at all: the printed T-shirts with the simplest construction and the most common cotton fabric were priced at around $860 each. When a nicely made tweed jacket was priced at $1,500, it looked like a problem to me.

The dresses impressed me very much. I put on several size 4 dresses (the one worn by the model but two sizes bigger on me) and yet I was amazed by the beauty of them. One dress made me feel like wrapped in a beautiful flower yet it looked so abstract and well constructed. Another dress worn by Chanel on the show was the most amazing piece to me. It was a highly "Cristobal" looking little black dress with a great deal of volume, but Marc made two poufs on it with a sash belted between the two to define the waist. The brilliant design made it a statement piece without overwhelming the girl in it. If I had the courage to shed $3,900 on it, I would definitely do so. It is going to be a LBD never goes out of style and follows me for the years to come. (I should start buying lottery tickets, seriously!)

The "Arabian nights" looking pants were interesting but they looked hard to sell. The good news is that they are being perfected, and by the time they reach the stores, you'll see the slimmed down version. I expect them to be very flattering.

(all pictures were from unless noted)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

SS07, The best collections

Instead of listing the best and the worst, I figured that it might not be a bad idea to do an "Academy Award" style list:

-they lead the trend and they satisfy our fantasies. They have the best clothes for day and for evening. They have perfect presentation with beautiful settings. They have the most consistent spirit and execution.
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Yves Saint Laurent
Runner up
-trend makers but with less "wow" effects
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Marc Jacobs
-for the consistent concept and execution
  • Yohji Yamamoto
  • Junya Watanabe
  • Marni
  • Max Mara
  • Fendi
Special events wear
  • Balmain
Best shoes
-in a season with countless beautiful clothes, most of the designers forgot to make shoes that look nice and feel comfy. The special shoes award shows my appreciation to the designers who designed beautiful and practical shoes for us modern women.
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Chloe

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Heels and a whole new perspective

Have you ever tried doing housework in heels?

It's probably routine for you, but it's totally new experience to me. I just purchased a pair of Alexander McQueen heels I was eyeing on for a long time (that's a totally different story, and I promise to tell you later), and I decided to break them in before their debut in public due to the heel height: four and half inches with a half inch of built-in platform.

I felt nice and tall the second I put them on. Then I walked around to do my routine. Things looked different. With my 5' 8.5" new height, I saw everything in our living room from a higher perspective. The chairs were low, the shoe boxes on the top shelf were easier to reach, the further away the door knobs were, and I found the sink so low that I had to bend over very hard to wash off the facial mask on my face. Were the furniture made for migits?

I felt like living in a different life. I suddenly wondered how my husband felt everyday. The skirts falling on my knee probably looked like falling on mid calf. My hair maybe looked totally different from high above. We're preparing our daily looks from our own perspective, but what do other people see from different angles? Growing up, I adjusted my own perspective to this world gradually and I never felt any changes. Now that I am in my four and half inches of heels, the world seems different.

So if you have not tried wearing heels around the house, give it a try, and let me know how you feel. It's different, isn't it?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bubble trouble

After seasons of bubble looks, the WSJ ( suddenly announced that "the bubble is back" in the latest weekend journal. Then the article went on to talk about how difficult it is to make the bubble look flattering or to make it work for office outfits. Are you kidding me?

It was not the first time the Style page on the WSJ shocked me. The bubble skirt article looks so outdated that I thought that I got an old newspaper (then the H-P article on page one confirmed that the paper was current). The column on the WSJ style page is simply too conservative and too fashion backwards.

How does that happen?

Apparently, the writer of the column looked at the wrong sources. Diane Von Furstenberg, Rachel Roy, and Adam+Eve are all so called contemporary designers who do not create trends but are trend followers. They normally capitalize the successful styles from the high end designers a couple of seasons after the trends are around. Marc by Marc Jacobs' look was used in the article as well, but if the writer looked at the Marc collection from last year, she would have realized that the bubble looks had been around for so long. To make it worse, most of the quotes from "experts" and "stylists" are from women in Des Moines and Denver where the majority of the women still wear "mom jeans". How could it not be fashion backwards?

In addition, the writer consistently looks at trends from an "average" woman's perspective. The fact is that there is no "average" woman. Macy's "regular" women don't buy bubble skirts because those bubble skirts sold at Macy's are not well-made, not because women refuse to take volume. If the writer visits the Marc store or Neiman Marcus' contemporary department to look at the sales, or takes a walk down on Madison Avenue, she would realize how mainstream this look has become. Did she just ignore the fact, or forget to do a little bit of fashion research?

The article ended with with a quote from a 29-year-old female New Yorker who refused to wear the look to the office. Come on, I work at downtown financial district, and I wear bubble skirts all the time and I saw bubble skirts all the time. How could you use such a biased quote to end an article with such a large audience? The only principle the readers need to know is to balance the look instead of refusing a trend without thinking. I have been wearing bubble skirts to work for at least five seasons, and nobody said it was inappropriate. In fact, I get positive comments all the time regarding my bubble skirts (the record is six times a day on my Marni skirt, with four in the elevators in my office building).

The WSJ is always forward looking on the financial markets. Unfortunately, the style page failed to do the same and even became a victim of a male dominated industry. Women working on Wall Street should have our own agenda and fashion sense instead of following the "normal" and "average". To empower the female on Wall Street, the style page should look at the fashion forward designers (Marc Jacobs in NYC and most of designers in Paris) , and help people to incorporate the latest looks to everyday outfits. Articles such as the bubble skirt one, only ridicules itself as a style page on a major newspaper. WSJ, it's time to change. Either the theme of the style page, or your columist.

Friday, September 08, 2006

TGIF, I saw Nicolas Ghesquiere!

After trying many belts with the Balenciaga pants I own, I realized that the belts shown on runway was the only perfect choice. The only place that sells them after the spring season is Barneys New York. I called two days ago to put one on hold, but I was stuck at work every single day and I never made my way to the store. Today was the day, no matter how much more work I had to do over the weekend, I HAD TO MAKE IT.

The train was extremely slow today, it took 30 minutes for the "express" train to drive from Bowling Green to 59th street. I started running with my three-inch heels and a messenger bag full of documents on the dark 60th street.

I entered the store and asked for help. My SA was not there, and the lady who helped me couldn't find the belt on hold. I was so disappointed but wandering around the display case looking at those beautiful belts (which I had looked at for many times). I wasn't really watching my way, and then I bumped into a belt rack - with my Balenciaga belt hanging in front of me.

The lovely lady turned on the register to run the belt for me. (Thank you!)

I got a call earlier today that my alteration was ready, so I asked the SA if it's too late to catch it. "Well, it's closed, but you can give it a try." Why not, I've run that far.

The elevator stopped at the fourth floor, and then I saw "Balenciaga" letters everywhere. It was the party for Balenciaga! I saw Nicolas Ghesquiere himself with his charming and lovely smile. Apparently he was signing the book "Balenciaga Paris". It was a very large book with very detailed history about Balenciaga. Talking about impulsive purchase...then you know what happened; I got my book, signed by Nicolas Ghesquiere, and chatted with him briefly.

The room was full of models and fashion celebrities. Julie Gilhart was one of them. She was surprisingly tall and thin. I had never seen so many Balenciaga outfits. They were from different seasons, in different silhouette and worn by different people. It was a very interesting party to look at. I also spotted a guy who had the standard Dior Homme boy figure. He was wearing a breathtaking beret with feather on!

All those beautiful people and beautiful clothes made me happy. After a whole day of discussion on real estate and fixed income (which is interesting, but work has been stressful lately), I ran to a completely different world. All it took was a little run in heels and a little extra effort to make my way to the fourth floor.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Case closed

I was looking for the Ann Demeulemeester boots for months last winter. Ann's sizes run large, so I need to find size 5. I visited Alan Bilzerian, Barneys New York in Manhattan and Neiman Marcus, but no luck. One year later, while the memory started to fade, I saw the pair on the last day of the Barneys Warehouse sale with hundreds of women and men fighting for bargains.

My heart almost skipped a beat when I saw a piece of leather hanging down the shoe rack yards away. Is it the one?

I ran to the rack and picked up the boots within a second as if somebody was running after me. Yes, it was the one. The one I was looking for a long time, the Ann Demeulemeester boots, in size 5.

Eventually, I stepped out of the warehouse sale with three pairs of Ann's shoes in hands. The other two pairs were from the Spring '06 collection with very comfortable padded soles and almost 4" heels. The total bill came to $235, and my boots only cost me $105. It still felt like a dream to me.

The following are the boots' pictures from

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

That piece of rubbish to you is treasure to me

I like to go to sales, especially the big, competitive ones. Apparently I need to be in the right mood to go, but it's always interesting experience to look at how different people pick out clothes based on their first instinct. It means shopping is dependent on personal style and one has to make a decision within a second. In this kind of extreme situation, a piece of rubbish to you might be treasure to me, and vis versa.
I went to the Barneys Warehouse sale last night. It was crowded, but not as bad as I expected. Still, girls were changing in front of guys and people were looking at the clothes on other people's bodies. Some girls wouldn't look at anything above $100, some ran straight to pick whatever Marc by Marc Jacobs items they could see, and others looked at those amazing Lanvin pieces then grabbed them without hesitation. Girls go to those sales with their own missions.
I was looking for THE Rochas suit that the talented Olivier presented on the Spring 2006 runway show. Unfortunately my size was not available, but I saw a Rochas A-line skirt at a little forgotten corner. The shape is simple yet the fabric is so different. It's a mix of linen, silk, and a kind of material I've never heard of. It's very muted yet beautiful. With all the respect to the designer I got the skirt. It belongs to me.
Then I thought about it. How many people tried it on before? How many people saw it at the Warehouse Sale? It eventually ended up coming to my wardrobe. Isn't it like a kind of unknown connection between us? I really want to share my experience with you, because I am sure that kind of joy, like how you feel at the moment you found the one in your life, hits you once a while, too. Right?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Can you make a dress with 28 scarves?

Can you make a dress with twenty-eight scarves? The sales people at the Alexander McQueen boutique can.
When my husband and I stepped into the McQueen boutique in the meat packing district, our eyes were caught by a black silk dress made of twenty-eight skull scarves that many fashionistas are to die for. I asked the SA how they came up with the idea, he just said that it was a quiet morning so they just did it to kill time.
I wish I could come up with a brilliant idea like that! Yes, just to kill time.
Isn't it amazing? A beautiful evening gown made of twenty-eight scarves. If I'm one of the celebrities, I will seriously consider wearing such a gown for an evening out. The cost? Six thousand dollars. The creativity? Priceless.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A little knowledge about fabric

Remember the overpriced miu miu dress I mentioned in the previous entry? I was wondering why they couldn't use silk but polyester. An expert at the Fashion Spot explained to me:

The skirt has a certain kind of embossed texture on it--you need heat to make this permanent and so polyester is the way to go! It just doesn't work like this with natural fabrics, unless you do a different way... like maybe embroidery to create embossed prints.

So now I know why. It's probably very difficult to make the pattern...but I still think that the dress is overpriced. I've seen similar dresses before, and they were not THAT expensive. The point here is though, I've just learned something:)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The new miu miu

Shown in Paris, with better quality and higher price point, miu miu has evolved. In addition to the traditional wool felt coats, jackets, and pants, miu miu played with volume and bold prints in the FW06 season. Intrigued by a picture in the August issue of the British Vogue, I paid a visit to the Soho shop.

In the Vogue picture, the model wore a similar outfit to the one shown on runway: a stripe shirt, a cardigan with a strap closure, and a print puffy skirt. I loved how everything worked together, and I figured that I really needed that cardigan to update my traditional cardigan plus cute skirt looks.

I picked up more than ten items off the racks including some items featured on the runway show. The strip shirt was very sexy with the back splitting to two pieces (deconstruction, plus point) but it was so awfully oversized that I had to pass. The print skirt, on the other hand, was made of heavy silk with a great deal of volume (think Balenciaga). The skirt was way more puffy in real life than it looked on pictures. "I'd wear either the print or the volume, but not both." I told my SA, and she nodded.

The skirt's price was $1,060. A new high for miu miu, I guess.

The grey cardigan with a strap was also unfortunately oversized. It was designed for the puffy skirt, so the bottom of the cardigan would be stretched apart to show the strap. It was a brilliant idea, but it was useless without pairing with the puffy skirt because the bottom would look too generous.

A red cocktail dress became the new "it" dress in the store. A handful of girls tried it on within an hour. I put it on, too. It was really cute. I liked the idea of the shape although it had to be tailored here and there. The price? More than $2,200 – for this Polyester dress. The SA told me that there were three people on the waiting list already, and she could guarantee that I'd receive mine as long as I leave my credit card number. "No thanks". I was talking to myself: there was no way for me to justify it.

Eventually a cardigan with a built-in knit scarf caught my eye. The cardigan fell on my body in a flattering way yet with a twist. An oversized golden pin also dressed it up. If my budget allowed, I would have also got a black wool felt skirt, a pair of straight leg wool pants, and a pair of ankle length boots. After all, summer will last for another month, and I still have plenty of time to figure out what the most crucial items I need to update my fall wardrobe. With more interesting design and the free tailoring service, I will definitely go back. At the same time, if you happen to visit miu miu, be prepared, don't be shocked by the Prada level price.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Competitive shopping

Shopping can be a very competitive activity. Excited by the new Balenciaga website (, I visited the store located on W. 22nd street on Friday. I was hopeful that I could find some leg lengthening pants from the Pants capsule collection, but the trip turned out to be very disappointing. The selection was so little that the store looked like an interior design display with some nice clothes as background: most of the pre-fall items featured in the look books were reserved long time ago and therefore never made the way to the floor.

My SA also informed me that for small sizes, such as French 36, they only bought one for each style. With a city full of stylish and slender women, how is it going to work?

It's is exactly what Balenciaga wants. It makes the individual who pays big bucks to buy the cloak feel somewhat special. But for the unfortunate second place, Ouch.

I was kicking myself for taking too much time thinking before I tried to place an "early" order. Too bad, the SA said, there are three people ahead of you.

I've learned my lesson. I'll call the boutique the morning right after the Paris show in September and put my name down. I might not be able to buy and afford everything, but at least I need to place my name on the waiting list early enough to make sure I have a chance.

There is a game, and let's play.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Value stock - Fendi

Value stocks are the under priced stocks, and investors normally purchase value stocks with the expectation that the price will eventually go up. Believe it or not, the first time when I browsed the Fendi collection in the boutique, my reaction was that Fendi's ready-to-wear is indeed a value "stock".

Starting as a fur salon, Fendi didn't generate much buzz from its ready-to-wear collections, in my opinion, until spring '06. For some reason, Chanel's shows were no longer breathtaking to me; in stead, Fendi's collections were getting stronger and stronger. I'm not sure if anything changed at Lagerfeld's studios, but it's was a complete shift between the two brands' design quality. Chanel got a little boring and sometimes overdone while Fendi looked sharp, classic, yet with a little twist. After looking at the collections online, I was very curious to look at them closely.

We moved to NYC right in time when the spring collection's sale started. My husband Rob and I only planned to stop by for a minute, but my Fendi Spy flat sandals caught John's eyes (John is a very good looking sales associate at Fendi). That resulted in a guided tour in the beautiful boutique. Once we reached the clothing racks, I was almost "forced" by the Italian hospitality to try on different outfits. For the first time in the past months, I saw sparkles in Rob's eyes. He was sitting in the Fendi arm chair chatting with John and looking at different looks on me giving out "yay or nay" like a connoisseur. I was in great joy: the craftsmanship was superb and the details were brilliant. Most of the clothes were simple, but they could be combined to different looks and often time, with a twist. Better yet, the price was so much cheaper than brands such as Chanel. For instance, I bought a wool shell with detailed puffy look at the bottom. It cost me about $270 after discount. It was not cheap, but I guarantee you that the price would be at least double at Marc Jacobs and triple at Chanel. I also bought an A-line silk skirt with similar price. The two items, together with my YSL wide black belt, created a sophisticated yet effortless look. I was impressed.

Looking at the fall collection look book, classic men's trousers and puffy skirts were presented with Fendi's new wide belts. The grey puffy skirt featured on magazines for many times looked amazing in person: the fabric was very thick and rich, perfect for the winter, and the construction was perfect. The skirt and the wide belt combo was $720, which would be at least $2,000 if the label says Marc Jacobs or Chanel. What can I say? I just found the value stock I've been looking for.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A new home on the Upper East

My husband Rob and I finally moved and settled down in our new place. It's a lovely duplex with a small yard, and we love the neighborhood. We got a chance to walk around the shopping area in midtown, and Rob bought a few shirts for his new job.

My new discovery though, is Fendi. I never got a chance to look at their clothes closely because nobody sells Fendi in Boston. Now that I looked at them and tried them on, I found that Fendi's ready-to-wear is actually fairly priced compared with other major fashion brands. I consider it a "value stock/brand". I picked up a few thing there, and I'm very happy with them.

I have to run now, but I promise to update my shopping experience at Fendi ASAP. I just want to thank everybody who are so supportive to our move. Also thank you for leaving the warm messages on the blog. I'm back to my normal schedule now, and the new stories are coming. Stay tuned:)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hello New York!

My husband and I are moving to NYC. It's exciting. I guess that I will change my profile after we move there, and I am sure that I'll have more to write about. Stay tuned:)

Saturday, April 22, 2006


I just went to NYC to check out the Prada exhibition in their epicenter - the soho boutique designed by Rem Koolhaas.

In my mind, Miuccia Prada designs the most interesting and beautiful skirts among all fashion designers despite the fact that Prada is a highly commercial brand. She is so consistent that you can count on her every single season to come up with new ideas and new prints.

The exhibition showcases Miuccia's best skirt designs from1988 to 2006. Some skirts are hung in store spinning to accentuate the shadow prints, and some are attached to the same piece of material like a camouflage. The collection includes the lip print skirt from 2000 as well as several popular skirts from the successful FW04 season (my favorite Prada season).

Most of the skirts are going to be reproduced for sale, but the amount is limited to three per style (the lip print skirt is not reproduced though). Part of the proceeds will be donated to charity, but $6,000 per skirt appears to be very steep to a regular consumer like me.Like all exhibitions in museums, this skirt event also hands out brochures and pins. The brochures have all skirts printed chronologically with a store floor plan and section at the back. The pin collection, at the same time, includes the most famous Prada skirt designs printed. Both items are free.There are also three styles of Tshirts with skirt prints on sale ($75 each): the green shadow skirt from FW04 season, the lip print skirt from 2000, and the blue/red print skirt from SS05 season. Another interesting item is a book with all skirt designs, inspirations, and material information. It's a must have piece for a design book junkie like me.

Overall, it is a cute exhibition. My only complaints is that all skirts are blended with the current spring collection through the store, so it’s not very easy to follow if your only objective is to look at the skirts. All the goodies coming with the collection are great add-ons, and I appreciate those details.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Dior Gaucho pumps & tips to make heels comfy

I was so amazed by the details on the pumps when I saw them on runway. Months later, here they are on my coffee table.
They are comfortable shoes, but it takes some tricks to make them the shoes to wear shopping for hours. Those are the things I always add on:
1. Power soles. Leather sole can't take much walking, and a layer of rubber takes them long way. Most of the shoe repair shops do that for you, but you need to ask for beige rubber sole if the shoes are in lighter shades.
2. Pads on forefeet. They reduce the impact on the ball of the feet. You can find them pharmacies such as CVS.
3. Pads on the back of the pumps. Pumps tend to slip on your heels, especially when they are slightly large. The little pads at the back of the pumps will secure the heels and avoid blisters.
All those "add ons" will cost about $30, but the return is priceless.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The only jacket in this world

Yes, my jacket is the ONLY one, which surprises me and amazes me so much.

After months of waiting, my Balenciaga jacket finally arrived.

I fell in love with this jacket right away when it was shown on Balenciaga's '06 spring runway show. It was such an amazing collection which melts Baroque and Rock & Roll together in an extremely architectural way. I knew that it was THE jacket people see once a life time, and I had to have it.

I even put deposit to order the jacket I wanted. They only produced a couple of the variations showed on runway, but I wanted different combination of colors and details. The special order service got me the exact jacket I wanted, just for me:)

I didn't pose. Imagine Jing as a clothes rack in those pictures. I want you to see how the jacket fits and how the details look. I guess that I would wear that outfit to a nice dinner, or to a nice Rock & Roll concert. That is an evening look, and indeed it is so me, the single Jing with all those rebellious ideas and the Jing who rarely followed norms.

I wore the jacket out shopping today. I dressed it down with white corduroy(my husband got eliminated in a spelling bee contest because of this word) pants and a light grey tissue T-shirt under. I also tried a look last night with the Balenciaga tank under but pairing with a flowy schiffon skirt and killer heels. That would be the outfit worn at my birthday dinner with Mr. Jing, and maybe a dance after.

Life changes, but a jacket like this will follow me for the years to come.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Devil in Balenciaga

I just received a phone call that my Balenciaga jacket arrived! I can't wait to put it on me! It's been 5 months sinced I ordered it...and I hope that it's worth the wait. I'll also go to Louis Boston on my way home to pick up the black tank with the print:"Devil in Balenciaga".
Wait for my updates;-)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Balenciaga FW '06 - Skyrocketing price v.s. a semi-couture collection

Nicholas Ghesquiere is officially my favorite designer after another solid collection showed in Paris a couple of weeks ago. The Balenciaga FW 06 collection is the fruit of his research on Cristobal Balenciaga's archives, and it showed Nicholas' modern interpretation of Balenciaga women.
After appreciating the looks for weeks, now it's time for us to face the reality and see how much those semi-couture pieces cost. I will list some looks and the prices below...honestly I am itchy on some of them but I am not sure if the prices are justified compared with the spring '06 collection. Let me know what you think.
Look #11
Jacket $2,995 (double sided); Top $2,675; Skirt $1,285
Look #14
Top $1,160; Pants $890 (Satin lined wool pants)
Look #15 $1,650 (one piece)
Look #18
Jacket $1,975
top $1,685
Look #23 $15,000 (!!!) - the material is specially made for Balenciaga
Look #24 $2,919
Look #25 $4,700
Look #32 $990
Look #35 $4,375

Look #37 $4,695

Friday, March 10, 2006

Barneys New York's Boston store is open!

The store is renovated from an old movie theatre and they take advantage of the existing structure to introduce sky light to the two-floor space. The entire store was full of sun light on this sunny Friday.

I checked out the store during lunch hour. I am very impressed. For the past years I have shopped in the New York store for many times (including calling them for certain items that I couldn't find elsewhere). Now, the store in Boston will totally save my to New York. The first floor looks like a fashion museum. It features Rochas, Alaia (!!!), Ann Demeulemeester, Lanvin, Rick Owens, Martin Margiela (line 1 and line 4), Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe, Tao, Comme des Garcons, and so on. They are the most original designers in this world but not covered by adjacent Saks or Neiman Marcus for a long period of time (what a shame!). I also have to say that Barney's buyers did a great job to pick the most gorgeous pieces from the spring collections.

The men's department and Co-op are located on the second floor. Only a few designers are featured in the Co-op department, but they are the best ones in that tier.

Service is very nice. My SA was very helpful looking for sizes for me, and customers can put things on hold for up to 72 hours. Sales are not pushy, which is consistent with their culture in the New York store.

All in all, I give it 4.5 out of 5. The half point deduction is from the lack of Balenciaga ready-to-wear. I understand that there might be distribution restrictions on that brand, but for a department store like Barneys, the selection is not complete without it.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

FW'06 New York Fashion Show - All About Marc Jacobs

After looking at all the collections on, my only feeling is that I would no longer care about the New York fashion week if Marc Jacobs stopped showing his designs in New York.

There were lots of nice clothes shown in the Fashion Week, but they were rarely directional. Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera looked more and more alike. Others presented nice clothes but appeared to be confused. At the same time, Marc Jacobs kept exploring new looks. In this season, Marc Jacobs offered cover up looks and showed us real life outfits for the winter: skirts over pants, leggings above boots, and coats over dresses. The looks were beautiful yet practical. The colors were mostly dark grey with sparkles. It continued the soft hues in spring 06 and it made me very comfortable to get used to the gentle color transition. I found many highly desirable pieces although it was a little overwhelming to figure out what Marc had to offer through the layers.

The Marc by Marc Jacobs collection was well made as well. Being a customer of both collections for three years, I have already noticed that Marc always brings ideas and details from the collection line to the Marc line to offer affordable designer looks. They normally come in the Marc line one season later, but nothing is better than a bargain design. I remember a top from three or four seasons ago in the collection line: it had this pleated details on collars and the delicate look eventually became one of his signature details. Then the same details appeared on a couple of tops in the Marc line one season later, and it became one of the hottest items in the boutique. In this season, Marc used the coat over long dress look from the FW '05 collection in the Marc line, and the silhouette showed a grown up Marc girl. Layering still comes into play in this collection, but this time around, the Marc girl is growing up. Not a girl, not yet a woman.

Marc Jacobs Collection (photo courtesy of

Marc by Marc Jacobs Collection (photo courtesy of

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Designer Agendas

I had thought about getting a designer agenda for a long time but never bought one. With the Outlook in my computer at work keeping track of everything, a designer agenda seemed unecessary. When I recently changed my job, however, I realized how important it is to keep my personal contacts and activities in a personal book that will follow me forever. Digital technology brought us all the efficiency and convenience, but when it comes to unexpected changes or a system crash, the old fashioned paper and pen system appears to work better. So I decided to get an agenda and return to the old fashion.

I always used agendas to organize my life since I was a kid. My parents always gave me those free agendas from conferences and business gifts. They normally only worked for only a couple of months and then were replaced by new free agendas. This time though, I need a really nice agenda that I plan to use for the years to come.

There are a few designers who offer nice agendas: Coach, Kate Spade, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Smythson, and Hermes.

Coach, Smythson, and Hermes don't use ring agendas. Instead, they offer agenda covers and secure the refills by the pockets inside of the covers. I was told that Hermes agendas start from $1,800, so it was out of consideration. Maybe I will get one when I am one of those C_Os.

I prefer something classy and I always think that showing a logo product in public is embarrasing. I failed to find a logo free agenda at Chanel, and I was told that the agenda market was shrinking so they only produced agendas in selected product lines. Kate Spade agendas are mostly colorful from the tabs to agenda covers. I would have loved to get one if I was in college, but apparently it's not something appropriate if I need to bring it to conference rooms.
I saw the most variety of agendas at Louis Vuitton and some of them are very decent. Epi, Suhali, and Taiga agendas are all good choices to me. I am especially fond of the Suhali agenda because of the details and the lack of logos, so I ordered one with plum color. Although the LV refills were sold out, I was able to find a set of Franklin Covey refill with pastel lanvender flowers. The lanvender and the plum work perfectly together.

Louis Vuitton Suhali Agenda

Louis Vuitton Taiga Agenda

Coach Agendas (

Kate Spade Agndas (