New Looks by Karen Millen

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Photographs by Daniel Kong


Karen Millen Products

Visit Karen Millen at Central/Central, Sogo or Elements, or shop online. From left to right – Ombre signature satin dress, Perforated tote bag, Paint printed full skirt, Monochrome cocoon jacket, Pleat lace skirt, Space dye bandage knit dress.


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For many, including myself, Karen Millen stands for the feminine clothes and polished looks – its signature satin dresses flattered many and scared away many, perhaps more, by its figure-hugging designs since the brand was established.

This season, a selection of designs that seem unusual to be found in Karen Millen stores – a unlined cocoon jacket with dropped shoulders and doom sleeves, and a structured pleat A-line skirt. These fashion forward pieces make refined urban outfit for day and night, and are intended to transcend seasons. Other pieces, extract the DNA of Karen Millen aesthetics and transform them into causal and relaxed shapes.

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Though pleasantly surprised by the brand’s evolving creative direction, my favorite piece remains one of their signature satin dress. This particular piece stood out for its beautiful digital ombre print. And like all Karen Millen dresses, it sculpts the body and leaves the woman confident and glamorous.

All Karen Millen products courtesy of Karen Millen Hong Kong.


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From Geneva with love.

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IMG_0563Photographs by Charles Mugel

Coat, skirt, and gloves by COS, Zara bag and Topshop boots.

An outfit post attempt from Geneva. After two years of dreadfully humid Hong Kong winters, I finally got to spend some time abroad during this festive time of the year (with a real Christmas tree and a proper gift exchange session which lasted for 3 hours.) While enjoying some time away from Hong Kong, I realised that I’ve been running this blog for three full years. No sentimental stuff (since I didn’t actually become famous because of the blog) but I do feel grateful that the memories of the past three years of my life have been carefully recorded and preserved. And I’m truly grateful for those who still stops by every now and then.

2014 is about gratitude – hopefully.

Ports 1961 Spring Summer Collection

PORTS03Powerful display of Ports 1961 Spring Summer collection at ArtisTree.

PORTS02The mid-thigh length boyfriend shirt is a tribute to the iconic blouse the brand was built on.

PORTS04Designer Fiona Cibani draws on panoramic photographic vistas of desert, sun and sky to express the free spirit of the collection.

PORTS07Drop shoulder satin top matched with double lace A-line shirt – Ports 1961’s essential sporty femininity.

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PORTS01Soothing desert color palette of sand, off-white and champagne.

PORTS05 Vivid color palette and again the desert landscape.

Ports 1961 launched their Spring Summer 2014 collection in Hong Kong last week at ArtisTree. The brand created an almost museum exhibition experience for visitors and for a second I believed those are beautiful art works on display.

The Women’s Collection designed by Fiona Cibani was inspired by Michaelangelo Antonion’s 1970 film Zabriskie Point. The designer draws on panoramic photographic vistas of desert, sun and sky to express the free spirit of adventure with her Spring/ Summer2014 Collection. The entire collection seems to be made for someone like me, the sporty cut, the really feminine dresses and skirts and the beautiful heeled sandals – can’t wait to see the new season in store! Check out more about their Spring Summer collection here.

Jesus Miranda Martinez | Gentlemen Style Series

Text by Kadri Karolin Kõuts | Features Editor
Photos by Sybil Kot | Editor-in-Chief

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H&M jeans and jacket, Club Monaco shirt, Mango He scarf, Rolex watch.

When I ask Jesus Miranda Martinez to tell a little about himself, our very first sartorial victim bursts out laughing: “I’m usually the one doing questions,” says the 39-year-old about his career in human resources at a major international retailer. While recruiting people for one of the trendiest high-street clothing brands on the market, Jesus has taken a more introverted role in his personal life and likes to keeps things simple. He doesn’t run a blog, rarely filters his photographs and disagrees to linger with hashtags. Not to mention he has never appeared in a fashion feature before. But for a guy like Jesus, who pairs up dandyish tailored jackets with patterned silk trousers and leather loafers, it was only a matter of time when the well-dressed gentleman welcomed The Style Voyager into his newly furbished apartment in Sheung Wan to capture the treasures of his wardrobe. With an array of galleries and specialty coffee shops, this particular Hong Kong neighborhood fits our host almost as well as the flamboyant pocket squares he wears on a daily basis.

Having born in The Canary Islands, the Spanish archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa, Jesus effortlessly transcends his Mediterranean roots into a closet that is dominated by many shades of blue and white, classic silhouettes and timeless pieces hand-down from past generations. Both of his most cherished vintage items, a Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch and a suede jacket, once belonged to his father.

Before moving to Hong Kong for work, Jesus has lived in five continents from the US to Australia, including South Africa and Mainland China. With such a nomadic lifestyle set in the agenda, the Spaniard has mastered the art of combining contemporary menswear with a sweet sense of nostalgia.

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Valentino sneakers, Zara pants and scarf, BLK DNM shirt and Scotch & Soda jacket.

What is the essence fashion for you?

I enjoy fashion. It is one way to represent what you’re about, what’s your personality. Whether you go out in the streets, is it a Sunday morning or a work meeting, it’s what you’re comfortable wearing with. Its about to be properly dressed for each occasion without loosing your personality and becoming one more. It tells about you, same as your manners or your voice tone.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Las Palmas is not the most stylish city in the world. It’s flip-flops and shorts… I don’t think it has been a big influence. Even in Spain, I sometimes get attention because of the way I dress. But I’m not trying to. I don’t like flashy things. From time to time, I check Jak & Jil and The Sartorialist.

If I have somebody who taught me the basic rules – it’s my mother. Being a housewife, she wasn’t really into fashion, but she always paid attention to how my sister and I dressed when we were kids. She used to tell me whatever you do, wear good shoes. When my mother passed away, a business acquaintance then told me she was the most elegant woman in Las Palmas.

What completes an outfit for you?

I don’t think I go for a single item. I do wear tote bags all the time. Everybody who sees me says: “Oh, the guy with a big bag”. But I feel that an outfit is not complete without proper shoes. They don’t have to be expensive ones. I love retro running Nikes! I also prefer low rise round neck tees and shirts without pockets (why do you need a pocket?).

 

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Trickers shoes, Tate pants, Massimo Dutti shirt, ITER jacket.

Are there any items you would never consider wearing?

Short-sleeved shirts, boot cut pants and thick sole sandals. Never.

Describe your style in a sentence.

I don’t think I have a consistent style. I can change from day to day. It mostly depends if I want to dress up a little bit more or less. I also like to play around things a bit. Yesterday I was wearing trousers that combined shorts and leggings.

Tell us about your beauty routine.

I usually trim my beard once a week. I never shave. For the hair I just blow dry and use a little bit of gel. I’m more into fresh colognes rather than deep ones. I use a special edition of D&G’s Light Blue and La Nuit de L’Homme by YSL for the night.

How do you spend your leisure time?

 I love reading. And movies, but it’s not easy to go to the movies in Hong Kong if you prefer something off the mainstream. I play tennis, but I don’t gym. As a kid, I did some sailing, which I would like to pick up again.

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Rivieras shoes, Zara pants, Design Workers London shirt, COS scarf, ITER bag.

What makes a woman look good?

I think it’s about knowing how to dress up as well as being more casual. Even if a woman puts a lot of effort into her outfit, it doesn’t have to look like it. Body posture is important too. Wear high heels only if you know how to walk in them. I don’t really like clothes that are too tight. In the end, it has to be balanced. If you wear a skinny pant with a fitted t-shirt… I mean sexy doesn’t have to be tight.

Is there a difference between being stylish and being trendy?

Absolutely! Being on trend is easy nowadays. You can look at magazines and buy all the bestsellers from the retailers. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re properly dressed. Style is everything. It’s more about being attractive rather than pretty. Maybe it’s because I like feminine over girly types.

 What do you think about the fashion scene in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is such a mix. I respect people who are really personal with their style. Maybe I’d never wear that outfit myself, but I respect that more than just putting all the fancy labels on top of each other. You can see that there is nothing personal about it.

 

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Do you hunt for brands?

I never shop because of the brand. I look for the item and pick from everywhere. I’m quite reluctant to spend too much money on a single piece. I can spend a bit more on shoes, but if it’s a t-shirt, I think it’s not worth it. One year, two years later you have to swap it anyway.

What are your plans for the future?

I like Hong Kong. Especially the Star Street and Sau Wa Fong area. But I don’t think it’s a city to be in for a long long time. I don’t see myself retiring here… Spain – it’s life in the streets. In Hong Kong, people are in the streets because they don’t have anywhere else to be. I do miss the European way of life; I like late dinners with no rush where you can drink wine (Ribera del Duero) without getting drunk.

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Pre-Fall

By Sybil Kot

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Photos by dear mom : )

(Club Monaco top, COS skirt, Topshop boots, Massimo Dutti bracelet, Zara jackets and shades)

When everyone else is still indulging in the crazy summer sale, I made an effort to pile on layers of fall winter clothes just to impress you – yea that’s what I do, freeze in February and melt down in August – just to impress you! Jokes aside, I’ve been quite impatient myself for the weather to cool down so that I can start wearing the dressy sweatshirts, full skirt and oversized coats… So here a sneak peek for the exciting season to come! Speak soon.

Beijing 798: A Visual Diary

798 has changed so much since my last visit – with souvenir shops, cafes, design firms and fashion boutiques popping up here and there, commercial activities has definitely change the face of China’s most important art zone. I stayed in Beijing briefly this summer, spent two days wandering around the area and here’s a few things to share.

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The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) is a non-profit art center located at the heart of the 798 Art District, it was founded by collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens. Since it’s establishment in 2007, the centre has organized numerous critically-acclaimed exhibition by Chinese contemporary artists. The exhibition is currently showing a retrospective for Chinese painter Wang Xingwei.

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UCCA also publish a series of insightful art books about contemporary Chinese art. There are a few really interesting introductory volumes – Breaking Forecast (中坚) - 8 Key Figures of China’s New Generation Artists. and China Talks (对话中国) – Interview with 32 Contemporary Artists by Jerome Sans. The UCCA Store also carries a selection of art, architecture, design and fashion magazines. And don’t forget to check out the UCCA Design Store next door.

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Tang Contemporary Art often presents installation projects by Chinese artists. They were showing Wu Daxin’s exhibition De Composure – an impressive installation piece of seven buildings representing the central axis dividing the city of Beijing. Many reference of religions can be seen in the pieces, including a blurred portrait of something that resembles a buddha, and a Noah’s Ark-like installation titled “White Vessel“. Read more about the exhibition here.

There are some other galleries and art spaces that you absolutely cannot miss: Long March SpaceBoers-Li Gallery, Pace GalleryBeijing Commune, and Space Station Art. Seriously, don’t miss out.

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I arrive just in time to see the Chanel’s touring exhibition The Little Black Jacket in Beijing. You can experience the exhibition on their official website. There’re a lot of debates on whether luxury brands has killed the artistic scene in 798. But having worked in a gallery myself, I consider the collaboration with luxury brands a creative way of revenue generation which would eventually be re-invested into nurturing the development of art and artists, if managed properly. My friend and fellow blogger Daniel Kong did an interesting piece about that.

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It was a nice surprise to literally “bump” into friend and artist Lai Sio Kit‘s solo exhibition at Art For All Society, an art organization devoted to promote art works by artists from Macau. 

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On my quest for art I also stopped by the famous Fei Space – a concept store dedicated to introducing international designer fashion, home decor and furnitures to the China market. The store even has its little curated furniture display room which resembles the interior of a typical 1960s Chinese home. Since September 2011, Fei Space became the first retail store in Mainland China to carry Topshop and Topman products. Check out their website for more.

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And I wasn’t walking around in high heels.

POLYU FASHION SHOW 2013

Back in June I was invited to PolyU Fashion Show where the undergrads present their final year project. The Institute of Textiles and Clothing in Hong Kong Polytechnic University is the most prestigious fashion design school in Hong Kong. With the likes of Vivienne Tam as alumni, the graduation show is definitely much more than a school project for the local fashion scene. The following are a few personal highlights of the show. 

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Winner of the Overall Grand Prize, the Outstanding Menswear Award and the Creativity Award. Lee Pak Ho has certainly made his point of being an advocate for sheerness in menswear. The opening piece was a little bit of a shock to me but the rest are simply brilliant. The strongest piece in the collection would be the overall sheer plaid suit and the “cloudy” suit. Having said that, I probably won’t dress my boyfriend that way.

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Francesca Chin‘s Time Sculptor collection is my favourite collection in the show. I love the form-fitted jacket with embossing details in cream color paired with knitted pencil skirt, also the turtleneck maxi dress with silver embroidery and the black lacer cut mini dress. The overall image of the collection is almost warrior-like to me. But the designer has carefully executed the collection into highly wearable pieces. 

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Zac Tso‘s Tribe Futurist collection looks a slightly over-designed to me, but I do like certain details he experimented with this collection –  the sportswear-inspired side slit maxi skirt and the beaded cape jacket. 

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Reichen Man‘s collection Coral definitely captured the imagination of the audience. showcases sophisticated craftsmanship. The bold pieces, though unwearable to most, demonstrated refined craftsmanship and sophistication in the pairing colors. I would love to see an accessory line by him.

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Yankee Leung‘s Futurist Classic collection is a close investigation of the many possibilities of the future suit – The oversized sweatshirt which ensembles a suit jacket, the cut up tuxedo cape and the white jacket which comes in two pieces- a cropped top and a girdle, all of the above showcases the designer’s effort to re-define the “classic”. The collection is streetwear-inspired, slightly K-pop-ish at times, but certainly a highlight of the show.

And some really fun moments…

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Rhyox Wan…and we live off of the unsettling soul

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Lois LiSteipnir in pastel

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And it was really lovely meeting Twee from Ezzentric Topz. She has recently relocated from Australia to Hong Kong, so make sure that you check out her blog and online vintage shop.

Photos by me.

Dizzy Dizzy

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Photographs by the best mom in the universe (as requested by her)

Cos top and skirt, Zara sandals and clutch, H&M cuff.

I visited the Cos store on Queen’s Road many times since it was opened in Hong Kong, but my first purchase from them only took place at their current summer sale. Just because they don’t do any fancy sequined cocktail dress, I categorized them as “pricey-minimalistic-casual-wear”  and haven’t been motivated enough to buy anything. But I realized the thing about Cos designs is that every item has a understated chic element in it which makes them well-worth the price over time. I hope you are not getting dizzy from looking at my multi-faceted clutch and my printed skirt (Coz my mom totally did.) Speak soon!

The Dream Outfit

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Zara top and skirt, Topshop necklace, & Other Stories sandals, Hong Kong boutique jacket and clutch, Edge of Ember cuff.

I titled this The Dream Outfit because I literally dreamt about this outfit before actually finding all the items in the market. It’s a combination of everything I love – mint and gold, flowy chiffon, sportswear elements, wooden sandals, more mint and more gold… Perfection. What’s your dream outfit for summer?

Someone else’s story

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REISS Alla Dress, H&M faux leather mesh top and shades, Hong Kong boutique spring jacket, & other Stories heels.

Sometimes it is amazing how different ways of styling can tell completely different stories about a piece. The classic and feminine Alla dress is a perfect outfit on its own, but I find it more fun and urban to layer an edgy mesh top over it. It is one of those outfits that are difficult to deconstruct at the first glance, but who doesn’t love an unexpected combination!?

Tempted by H&M’s new line & other Stories, which is currently available in selected European countries only, I asked my cousin in Amsterdam to “smuggle” a few pieces into Hong Kong. (You know it’s time to call up that one friend you have in the UK and ask for a favor!) I’m very happy with my first purchase, especially these heeled sandals. Will try to post the rest of my purchases in upcoming posts. Speak soon!

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