- Fashion Blog
7:13 am

The Shocking Price Tag of Experience

10/10/2011, Musings

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine who works in PR whinged how one of her clients questioned a $12 Starbucks receipt when she asked to be reimbursed for expenses. My friend laughed it off, saying, “I can’t believe they questioned coffee with one of the editors when I got them over $2 million dollars worth of press that month”.

Like any werqing gurl with dreams of nice shoes, nice bags and nice jewishry, I mean, jewelry, my eyes ballooned to the size of dinner plates when I heard the phrase “two million dollars”.

The curious cat in me asked, “how did you come up with the two million dollar figure?”

She explained to me how PR companies have records of most magazine and newspapers’ circulation figures and rate cards. When a product receives exposure, they mathematically calculate the value of based on the type of coverage, the actual size, the images used, etc. She also told me how that value is multiplied twice or thrice if a product was shot in a fashion spread because it’s not a “write-up” and it looks more “legit and authentic” to the reader.

It’s all fascinating, isn’t it? Oh the things I learn each day…


While we’re on the subject of value…

I can’t remember (more like, I totally forgot) what I was searching earlier because I landed on Charitybuzz once again. It’s that amazing website that auctions unique experiences with proceeds going to charity. I’m no stranger to that site. I remember how they auctioned off a trip to American Vogue’s offices not too long ago.

Anyway, I was toying around the site until I discovered that they’ve auctioned off fashion show tickets as well.

That’s right — all for charity’s sake!

Take a look at the price of fashion show tickets: Rebecca Minkoff – $5,000, Rodarte – $10,000, Dennis Basso – $12,000, Rebecca Taylor – $5,000, L.A.M.B Gwen Stefani – $10,000, Nicole Miller – $10,000, BCBG Max Azria – $10,000, Theysken’s Theory – $15,000, Reed Krakoff – $4,000, J Mendel – $7,000, Vera Wang – $7,000.

Of course, some of these have value-added bonuses such as a free bag, dress or a coat, or quick ‘meet and greet’ sessions which last anywhere between the time it takes to exchange air kisses to a few minutes.

And then you have the $25,000 Victoria’s Secret fashion show and after party invitation which I’m sure many, horny, testosterone-laden middle-aged men with hairy backs would be willing to fork over a cheque. Heck, some Russian billionaire’s son (who has yet to be identified) gifted Zac Efron a $100,000 bottle of champagne.

Not many of them mentioned seat assignments (with the exception of Richard Chai who offered a front row seat for Richard $7,500) so for all you know, you could be sitting in row Siberia!

How much would a Texan oil billionaire’s daughter pay for my front-row Valentino spring/summer 2012 ticket? How much would a Chinese tai-tai shell out for my front-row Louis Vuitton show invite? An amount with too many zeroes, that’s for sure. Or maybe three words: PRICE UPON REQUEST.


In light of all these figures, I cannot help but think, holy rich people of the world batman, those fashion show invites are worth a goldmine! Think about all the shows, the seats, the meet and greets, backstage trips, both mens and women’s, which I’ve attended, have skipped or missed, over the past few years, for free mind you (ok if you want to be technical, all at the price of a plane ticket and bunking at hotels or apartments)… oh my gosh, I can’t even put a hypothetical dollar value in it! Can you?

I repeat — I know and I understand that it’s all for a good cause. I think it’s great that designers are contributing to such charitable efforts as well. Also, I have no qualms with the idea of people buying whatever brings them happiness (i.e. paying for material things or intangible experiences).

I’m still dumbfounded by all of this.

There are people who are sacrificing family time, personal relationships, health, sleep, quality of life, etc to go to the shows because of work, passion and love for the industry but for some, it’s all as easy as writing a check for a couple of thousand of dollars.

Interesting, no?

7:33 pm

Another Lost Cause

06/10/2011, Musings

While the rest of the fashion world have gone under the sea with their aquatic and sea-world inspired shows, well, I’ve had another incident with the underworld a few days ago.

To those of you who noticed that I’ve been tweeting (and emailing) less than usual, well, guess what — my iPhone was snatched from me at the Republique metro station.

This is the second time I was robbed in Paris. Remember how I got mugged in 2009?

I’ve lost many, many phones in the past and it’s frustrating because I only got my iPhone 4 earlier this year. In February to be exact.

I was going up on the escalator to switch trains and this huge tall man of African descent suddenly came up to me on my left side and grabbed my phone while texting a friend to tell her I’m on the metro and on my way to Miu Miu.

The encounter lasted about ten seconds. My phone had no casing and I had no choice but to let go when the man grabbed it. I didn’t want the sharp sides of my phone to cut my hand.

I’m sad because I have lots of memories in the phone — over 2,000 photos I took during my travels, dozens and dozens of videos and of course, my precious contacts and emails.

I spoke to Joe Zee at Miu Miu and he told me that the men are only after the phone itself. It’s more than likely for them to erase everything on the device and sell it on the black market.

I seriously hope that’s the case.

I have this feeling inside that maybe I should cry over it to get it out of my system but no matter how many times I’ve tried, I couldn’t shed a single tear.

8:08 am

Crash and Burn

03/10/2011, Musings

As soon as I exited the DW Kanye West fashion show, I saw a very despondent Kristin Knox from the Clothes Whisperer arm-in-arm with one of the PR staff. They were both looking for the person who stole Kristin’s invite. Security was very tight at DW Kanye West and she missed the show because her invitation was snatched from her as she walked to the entrance. I felt bad for her.

I’m not a fan of crashing or sneaking in. Even for events I really want to go to. No means no. I, like most people, follow the appropriate protocols. Suffice to say, I’m rather visible and it would be blatantly obvious to event organizers that I crashed if they see me at an event I wasn’t invited in the first place. Not a good look in my opinion.

Unless security is extremely tight and the event is a hot-ticket show, I rarely bring my invitations anymore. I’ve had them stolen from me in the past.

To what extreme lengths would you go in order to be at a show or an event?

I’ve missed many shows because I was late, because I didn’t have enough time to go from point A to point B. I even skipped shows and events where I know I’m not gonna get any material/photos/etc to blog about, or, events I have no emotional or personal connection with. After several years of going to the collections and nurturing relationships over time, I’ve learned to make do and be contented with what I have. It is virtually impossible to go to ALL events when you only have a team of one. Not enough time, not enough resources.

While waiting for the doors at Joseph Altuzarra’s show to open, a Frenchman asked me how I got invitation. I told him in jest, well, it arrived by mail.

You know me — I love, love, LOVE meeting and chatting to my readers in flesh. However, there are times when I cannot help but feel miserable inside. Especially when people ask me if I have a spare invitation to go to a show or get them into a party. I ALWAYS do my best to be polite to EVERYONE but to some, “no, I’m sorry, I don’t have one” is not enough. People would follow you around from show to show, continuously ask you the same question, taunt you and then they’ll be rude simply because they failed to get what they want from you. I cannot afford to be rude (even if the voice at the back of my head is screaming go on, say ‘HERE. HERE’S MY FUCKING INVITE. GO HAVE IT AND FUCK OFF AND NEVER BUG ME AGAIN’) because it’s not nice.

In Milan, I spoke to an Editor in Chief who I love and admire and she asked me what my plans were for the night. I told her my plans and how excited I was and then she shared some memories how excited she was when she first started going to these glamorous and glittering events in the past. After awhile they all feel the same — a painful, draining, time-consuming obligation to attend due to various reasons (political, advertisers, etc). Now all she wants to do is to curl up in sweatpants in her hotel room and get a solid six hours of sleep each night. Even she couldn’t do that anymore.

8:27 am

Coffee Runners Are The Future Of Fashion Reporting

05/09/2011, Fashion and Style, Musings

Sometimes I feel like a broken record every time I answer interviews on this whole blogs vs traditional media hocus pocus. I always cringe whenever I get asked questions pertaining to this comparison. I’m quick to point out that most bloggers, at least the ones who had their blogs for quite some time, started as a hobby, only with the mere intention of sharing life experiences online. Of course, many people now want to be “bloggers” and present themselves as “critics” or what have you. It just happened that people were quick to pigeonhole bloggers as the new journalists when this whole blogging phenomenon exploded no wonder they now carry this unwarranted, heavy burden of being the future of fashion reporting.

What can one do to abolish this way of thinking? That us, bloggers, are shadows of our beloved fashion reporters? That we all want to follow their footsteps? To lump everyone in this basket is somewhat disheartening. Why do we have to impose the same pressures, standards and expectations to the people we respect and admire for years to everyone with a blog? We all know that not all blogs are created equal. To compare different channels is not only a waste of time or space but it also belittles people who spent dozens and dozens of years honing their craft. For instance, I think it’s more insulting to compare an industry veteran to a narcissistic blogger who posts pictures of her outfits online than calling out why a blogger, who has very limited industry knowledge,  is not capable of critical thinking. Is it fair to force critical thinking from people whose intention is to keep personal diaries on the interwebs? Just a thought. Of course your teenage blogger has a different perspective than someone with a set of jaded eyes. I’d rather have experts do it.

In twenty, maybe thirty years, the Hilary Alexanders, the Cathy Horyns, the Anna Wintours and the Suzy Menkes of the industry won’t be around. Who should we look up to when it comes to the future? Let me tell you one thing — don’t look at pesky bloggers. Easy target, if you ask me. Don’t look at me either — I’ve always said I’m the Snookie (aka Horse & Hound) of blogging! The future of fashion reporting doesn’t rest on the hands of a laptop-wielding blogger who likes to share portraits to an interested and addicted audience on the internet.

What fashion needs to do is to look closely on the skinny fashion chain. How many university graduates are reduced to fetching coffee or doing sample returns at 1AM while their Editors flirt with the latest Brazilian himbo or sip 30-euro vodka tonics at the Principe? Or what about that nubile, young thing (whose family spent tens, if not, hundreds of thousands of dollars in a college education) giving up the dream of having a byline and now spend his or her time writing emails with “MEDIA ALERT” on the subject line, hawking the latest accoutrement sported by oh, I dunno, Lauren Conrad?

Ok enough rambling from me. I could go on and on and on and make very little sense. I hope you get the picture.

6:30 am

People Like Attention And Affection

10/08/2011, Film, Musings

The thing I dislike most about indie films is that I never get to see them because they are often widely unavailable or they don’t make DVD versions. I want to see “Weekend”, a movie about two men meeting on a Friday night and then they hung out, bonded and got to know each other for a whole weekend. I have a feeling they fell in love blah blah blah then it didn’t work blah blah blah etc. I don’t know the rest of the story but I definitely want to see it.

YouTube Preview Image


Weekend Movie starring Tom Cullen and Chris New
Looks familiar? Can I see a show of hands?

I’ve gone through that shit dozens of times. I think it’s exactly the same for most people. It’s human nature that we like attention and affection. Give me attention and maybe I’ll show you a little bit of affection. Show me a wee bit of affection and I’ll definitely give you some attention.

We all have met strangers that we like… some we dispose, while some, well, let’s say we end up having a deep connection with. I cannot count the number of guys I’ve met over the years at my travels where the two of us get along so well but we have to cut it short because of the distance between us. I was single for what, many, many years and it was only until I met my boyfriend that I decided to give this relationship thing a go. Mind you, it’s the same story. We met in Stockholm, we spent time together, etc, etc etc and after two or three months, we bit the bullet and made a commitment.

During the earlier days of my relationship, I disliked it whenever guys from my boyfriend’s past reached out to him — you know, former flames, former friends with benefits the whole lot, people who weren’t aware that my bf is now partnered. I know how some gays work and the length some would go to just to get some dick and nuts, even if the other person has a partner or what have you. I hated the idea of him still talking to them and I’m glad I made that point. Sissy as I come, I have to mark my territory. It’s the alpha male in me.

People come as package deals, of course, and we all have to accept that this is always the case. Nobody comes without excess baggage. Though I must admit, my bf deserves an award for being secure in our relationship because when you think about it, I’m the one that travels the most and I meet so many people in so many cities yet I’m the one who is insecure and watching him like a hawk. Ironic, isn’t it?

There will always be someone out there who is prettier, thinner, more talented, more intelligent, nicer, richer, taller, blonder, darker, tanner, have a bigger dick or boobs, have better skin, have a tighter ass, etc. No one is irreplaceable. If you are too perfect, you can easily be replaced by someone less perfect than you. Most of us fear our partners meeting other people (whether from the past… or in the future) and forming something meaningful with them. My fear is that my bf would give up on me in exchange for someone similar and closer to him. I’m not exactly the most normal and stable person out there, what, with my lifestyle and nature of my work? I’m anything but normal.

Watching that trailer made me think. How many of us know our limits? Single or not, do you easily fall for someone after meeting them and bonding very briefly? To those in relationships, do you continuously see other people (thinking it’s harmless) and stretch your limits to see how far it would take you?

Enough babbling on a Wednesday. If you get the chance to see this film, be sure to let me know how it ends!

7:26 pm

Coat Or Arms?

27/07/2011, Musings, Prada

While the United States of America braces itself against the threat of default, here I am trying to sort out my latest dilemma.

I’ve been eyeing this gorgeous Phillip Lim coat at Shopbop for quite some time now as well as this amazing snake coat (photo below) from Prada’s fall/winter 2011 collection. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it down the runway in Milan back in February.

Prada coat fall winter 2011 worn by Raquel Zimmermann for Vogue Nippon magazine.
Raquel Zimmermann in Prada Fall 2011 for Vogue Nippon

I need a new coat. I really do. It’s not a bad idea to plan outfits in advance, budget and all that.

Thing is, I also need a new camera. I’m starting to get sick of my current one, a Canon Rebel T2i (my first DSLR camera) which I bought last November. It took me six years of blogging before upgrading my equipment. After eight months of use, I have this raging need to step up.

If you have seen some of my photo diaries over the past few months, I think you’ll agree with me how my photos are much better than before. I look at my pictures now and while the quality improved a few notches up (at least compared to photos I took, say, three years ago), I feel like I can do so much more if I invest in better equipment. Afterall, I consider myself extremely lucky (and grateful) for having so many opportunities and the access I’m privy to, people, places, events and situations. It’s kinda unfair if I don’t try to give my best.

I know very little about the world of photographic equipment so I rang my friend Rumi for advice. An hour and a half on the phone and a few clicks online later, my new baby is on its way. I ordered a Canon 5d Mark II, two lens and some accessories. Upgrade!

Between you and me, I’m still having doubts whether it was a good decision to buy a camera instead of a new coat. I have never spent so much on a camera before. I freaked out at the price! The three-year insurance alone was $599 or a pair of shoes if you ask me. Christian Louboutin sandals to be specific.

I called my boyfriend for emotional support. Instead of consoling me, he freaked out at the prospect of handling such expensive equipment when he’s taking pictures of me. “What if I dropped the camera?”, he asks. In spite of this, I detected a sense of excitement in his voice. Afterall, he, too, has a new toy to play with.

Rumi, on the other hand, was enthusiastic with my new acquisition. “Congrats,” she said.

“This is a purchase that will pave the way to buying Prada’s entire collection.”

Coat or no coat, I concur.

6:44 am

How The First Clown Was Created

21/07/2011, Musings

I’m currently watching music videos on YouTube and after several dozen videos of all these made-up girls, I asked myself this question — what happens when a single girl, in full make-up, think eyeliner, eyeshadow, concealer, foundation, blush, lipgloss, lipstick, etc., goes out, meets a hot guy and makes out with him?

That thought sparked further questioning in my head.

What about all these girls who enhance the appearance of their bossoms using chicken cutlets?

What about all these girls who wear spanx before wearing their tightest, skimpiest Herve Leger dress? When a guy takes her home for sexy time… who’s gonna unwrap the mummy?

BTW I for one love spanx. I wear them myself only for the sole purpose of being able to fit clothes, not for the purpose of looking a certain way to get laid or to attract somebody. I’m in a relationship and my partner had seen me in my naked glory many times over, at night or in broad daylight.

I have no problems with people altering their appearance, whether temporarily or permanently, for whatever purpose. I do the exact same thing except I use clothes and accessories!

I’m really just curious about the reactions of people who meet people who alter their physical selves. Case in point, girls who use chicken cutlets! I mean, they give the illusion they have something up there but when a guy and that girl gets naked, what do you think goes on in the guy’s head? HOLY AGENT PROVOCATEUR BATMAN, IT’S NOT A HE OR A SHE IT’S A SHIM!

Anyway, I just find it all fascinating.

MissAJBuron sent me the best reply to my original question via Twitter.

“And that’s how the first clown was created.”

What say you? Care to contribute?

10:20 am

American Beef

17/07/2011, Musings

One of the things I love about shopping in Europe is that when you spend over a certain amount (it depends on the retailer), you are eligible to get the VAT (Value Added Tax) back when you leave the European Union. All you gotta do is ask one of those tax-free forms, present them to customs to get it stamped at the airport and voila, you either get cash or a credit back to your payment card. Taxes in Europe, as you know, are quite high, especially in Scandinavian countries. But what makes it fascinating is that what you see on the price tags in Europe, similar to the Philippines — at least what at shops, is what you’ll be charged at the counter. No ifs, no buts, no nothing. Unlike in America (India is also the same) where sales taxes are added separately. So depending on the US state where you’re shopping at, that $550 shoe suddenly turns into $7,499.99 in a snap of a finger. Don’t even get me started when eating out at restaurants. There you are, amazed how all the prices are as delicious as what’s being served on the menu but when the bill arrives, factor in sales tax and tip/gratuities, that meal for two is like a meal for ten back home. OK, I’m exaggerating, but still.

Not too long ago, I spoke to a friend who lives in Los Angeles. She, too, hates these pesky sales taxes. She told me that one way to bypass these sales taxes is to buy something from out of state, like New York — and have it shipped home, in California.

Here’s what I don’t understand. And please forgive my ignorance. Why are we, foreign tourists, subject to sales taxation, when we take our purchases out of the country whereas people who live/buy out of state, get their sales tax waived? Also, why doesn’t America have a sales tax refund system in place? Europe has it. Singapore has it — hello, GST?

Just wondering. That’s all.

2:58 am

The Curse Of The Lookbook

09/07/2011, Fashion and Style, Musings

I can’t stand lookbooks. I can’t. They come very handy on a retail level. You know, you go inside a store to browse merchandise or sift through a brand’s latest offerings from the lookbook on the counter. But other than that, they’re a big no-no.

I often find myself throwing away countless of paper lookbooks from different designers and brands. I proactively (and politely) refuse taking them with me. Sure, leafing through something tactile and tangible helps fully visualize a brand’s vision or point of view but really, I just find it wasteful more than helpful.

I don’t usually take goodie bags but at a recent event I attended, a publicist insisted that a fellow blogging colleague and I take one in spite of our refusals. To spare ourselves further talk, we took one each before going to my hotel room for a night cap. Lo and behold there are not just one but several paper (very expensive paper) lookbooks inside. I asked my friend what was she going to do with them and she asked me where the trash can was. “If I need images, I can just go to their website,” she said.

In this digital era we live and work in, everything should be easily available online — images, press releases, information, etc.

It makes no sense carrying twenty pounds worth of paper with you when you’re already fighting tooth and nail with airline check-in staff to avoid those pesky and dreadful excess charges TO and FROM a trip.

I had the final straw not too long ago after receiving a press packet from a company touting “eco-friendly” bags. They unsolicitedly gifted me a sample, a canvas bag wrapped in plastic bag, inside a fancy cardboard box, with — yes you guessed it — a paper lookbook of all their other eco-friendly bags. I cannot help but wonder what drugs they took.

What’s wrong with sending a press release, via email, with a link to a downloadable, PDF lookbook? Don’t email huge file attachments; send a link instead! For those who insist on wanting something tangible, why not send a cool USB stick with images or PDF files inside them?

I think it’s about time for lookbooks to go digital.

Just think of the trees people, just think of the trees.

7:06 am

What’s The Alternative To Fashion?

06/07/2011, Musings

I answered a bunch of long overdue interviews yesterday (yay for finding four straight hours of computer time) and one of the questions a magazine asked me was, “what’s the alternative to fashion?” I thought I’d share this to you while I’m cocooned in my swimming pool cabana here in New Delhi. My boyfriend’s working on his tan and I’m wrapped like a mummy. I already got too dark for my own good. This is why I hate being with white people sometimes whenever I go on holiday. While they compete against nature to have the same colour as a flamingo or a lobster, I can’t last under the sun for long without being roasted to imperfection. Boo skin cancer, boo!

Swimming pool tiles in Agra, India


Anyway, without hesitation or thinking about it, I answered “LOVE”.

Love is similar to fashion. We can’t survive without it. The love of family is similar to the fashion version of the classics. A classic trench coat can withstand weather, rain, wear or tear, like one’s father. The softness and comfort of a cashmere sweater is akin to a mother’s love. A great pair of jeans that you can bring to places is very brotherly or sisterly. Friends come and go over time so the love of friends are similar to accessories — the timeless classic bag, willing to be there while you carry your baggage, is your best friend. The must-have shoe is your other BFF. Acquaintances and all the people that go through the revolving door called life are trend pieces — they make you happy temporarily but after a few short moments, they’re disposable. Shoulder pads? Check. Sequined jackets? Check. Colour blocking? Check check check!

And when it comes to real, unconditional, special love from THE one and only? We’re all gonna have to go through many, many dresses, some tight, some loose, some probably ill-fitting, but there’s only only one, clean and pristine, dress that will march with us to the altar. It takes time to find that one.

Love is all we need.

My answer was so beauty pageanty innit? High fives all around!