Monday, February 26, 2007

My favorite Oscar red carpet gowns

I normally don't get excited by the red carpet fashion scene, but this year is an exception. With my favorite two designers shining with the stars, I feel that I have to share my joy with you.

Here are my faovorite outfits:

3. Reese Witherspoon in Nina Ricci

It's Nina Ricci, and it is Nina Ricci by Olivier Theyskens! Olivier is born to make breathtaking gowns, and his talent is second to none.

My only complaint is that dark purple is not Reese's best color. The color also faded away with the Oscar stage background. A simple Olivier grey would have done the perfect job!

2. Cate Blanchett in Armani Prive

Cate can pull off anything, but this Armani Prive gown is the best color she could possibly choose. With the metallic shine, the gown looked very relavant to what is happening in the fashion world now. To be honest with you, I didn't even think that it could be an Armani gown because Armani was always boring to me, including the Prive couture line. (if you don't believe me, look at Zhang Ziyi's Armani gowns. Don't they all look the same?)

1. Nicole Kidman in Balenciaga

Nobody asked her whom that dress was by, but us fashion lovers knew it was Balenciaga. To me, the metallic red trims and the way it fits the body were 100% Balenciaga. The red color made her radiant, and the bow added a twist. It's a home run. Congratulations to both Nicole and Nicolas! (Good luck to the runway show Tuesday!)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

An adventure in an icy world

When I found out that there was a Balenciaga jacket for sale in Cambridge, I decided to make a trip there while I was in Boston for an appointment with my orthodontist.

Yes, I am talking about THE paisley jacket from the SS06 collection. I own a navy one and I loved it so much that I wanted to collect a grey one as well.

It was the day after the snow storm. JFK was so frozen that my plane couldn’t take off until we waited in the plane for an hour for the ice to melt. By the time my appointment was over, Boston was warm in the sun and the ice was melting. I took the bus and then walked to the apartment where I visited the seller and tried on the jacket.

The seller was a very friendly Asian girl, a fashion connoisseur and an anthropologist living in Cambridge as a visiting scholar. We were both amused by the fact that our lines of work were not related with fashion at all, yet we both constantly changed roles between the fashion world and the real world.

The jacket fit. I wrote her a check, she handed me the jacket and then she started showing me her closet. The Pandora’s box was open! In addition to at least ten pieces of Lanvin crystal and pearl necklace in different colors and styles, many Lanvin bags, numerous pairs of shoes, and countless miumiu suits, there were two collectors’ items (well there were three before I bought the jacket): a floral “parachute” dress from Junya Watanabe’s SS03 collection, and THE patchwork dress from Balenciaga’s SS02 collection!

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I asked her twice to open the cotton dust bag to admire the Belenciaga dress closely. It was a piece of art! The patchwork pieces appeared to be sewn together randomly, yet all the fabric and colors worked in a magical way that the entire dress formed a sleek silhouette and looked extremely figure snagging. Retailed for $8,000 Euro? No wonder! What a lucky girl she was!

We then talked about fashion and the clothes we love until I realized that I had to leave to catch my Limoliner to come back to NYC.

The sidewalks were completely frozen by the time I left. I tried to maneuver my walk to move as fast I could without falling, but I eventually fell on ice. I simply couldn’t walk fast enough. It was 4PM, the wind got stronger, my feet hurt, and my muscles got tense. I didn’t eat lunch and I was thirsty. I finally made my way to Massachusetts Avenue and I tried to catch a cab. Every single of the ten drivers I asked for waved and drove by. Nobody wanted to drive on icy roads.

I was desperate. I had thirty minutes to get to the Hilton Hotel where the bus would take off. I couldn’t find a cab, and my last choice was the bus. There wouldn’t be any problems had the weather been nice, but I sensed that luck was not on my side after I was lucky enough to own that jacket. I got in a bus but it couldn’t leave the stop because there was a handicapped person who had a mental break. The driver got scared and he couldn’t do anything about it. Eventually the bus started moving, but a few minutes later it slid towards the side walk when the driver tried to avoid a crash with a small car. People started screaming, but luckily we didn’t hit anything.

I missed my bus by twelve minutes. What should I do?

You are such a foolTo worry like you do.. OhI know it's toughAnd you can never get enoughOf what you don't really need nowMy, oh myYou've got to get yourself togetherYou've got stuck in a momentAnd you can't get out of itOh love, look at you nowYou've got yourself stuck in a momentAnd you can't get out of it

Okay, calm down and think. I had two choices. Choice A, taking the Chinatown bus and safety could be compromised; choice B, staying overnight with my mother in-law in Brookline.

“Good thing I married a guy from the town of Brookline AND my mother in-law wouldn’t fly out to Florida until the day after”, I thought. I couldn’t get out of it, but I had a home to stay.

The trip back to NYC the next day wasn’t easy. That night when I called to schedule a cab to drive me from Brookline to the Hilton to catch the 6am bus home, all the cab phone lines were busy. Eventually I got one but it didn’t show the next morning. Luckily I got a cab on my way out and I managed to catch my bus. So here I am, sitting at home typing my story. I am exhausted. I wish my fashion conversation with the seller was shorter. But would I do it again if I was in the same situation? I probably still would.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Proenza Schouler for Target turns to an insider trading case

I work in the securities industry, and the Attorney General makes sure that every single of us follow the rules not to trade securities before financial information is released to the public. This is a fair market. It's not the case in the fashion industry though, at least in the case where the Proenza Schouler for Target collection was released.

Opening Ceremony has a three day special event to sell the entire collection in their Soho store. Having seen how many people line up outside of the H&M stores for the special collaborations, I arrived at the store at 11am on Friday, the opening time announced on the store's website. However, by the time I entered the store, almost all small sizes were gone. What happened? Didn't they say that they were going to have ALL styles and ALL sizes available?

Then I was informed that there was a special party the night before for "VIP"s to make purchase ahead of the crowd. In addition, the Parsons' students were allowed to arrive at 9am on Friday to make purchase. Then I knew where those size XS and size 1 clothes went.

Check on Ebay. Items are up and being marketed, at twice of the price.

What a perfect case of insider trading! While people such as me would face jail time if traded before the public does so, people in the fashion world does it as a standard practice. The Attorney General apparently overlooked this.

Feeling unfairly treated, I arrived at 9am on Saturday morning trying to be the first in store when it opens at 11am. According to Opening Ceremony, they would have restocked with the entire collection overnight.

I was the first customer inline shortly before a dozen of other girls arrived. We waited in this freezing winter morning hoping to be able to pick out the items we liked. However, while we struggled with our painful feet due to the low temperature, the "Proenza Schouler team", the friends of so and so, and the girl who claimed that she interned at the boys' company "last March" got their way in to shop early. As a result, there were very few small sizes or popular styles left when the store was open to public. Enough said. You judge.

Now let's talk about the clothes. It's no doubt the best GO collection. Being a customer on both ends of the ready to wear market though, I have to warn you that this collection is nowhere near designer quality. The cotton gaze feels too flimsy to hold the shape after one wash, and the stitching doesn't always line up. The silk material, however, is rich and vibrant to hold for long. The Jackie O coat is a pleasant surprise as the tailoring is precise. The bustiers have sizing issues so make sure try on several of them for each size (if you are in a store) to find the best fit for you.

Love it or hate it, it's a collection that excited me after a month of "fashion break" in January. I don't doubt that it's going to be a great success later in Target, so don't wait for the sale. If you missed certain items as I did, let's just wait for the Target release. Don't pay for double on Ebay because they are insiders who traded before the puclic, and they are no different from the criminals.