Design, People, Shopping

Intro to …Mary K

28 February 2011

Intro to …Mary K

The most amazing show of  London Fashion week was that of  Mary Katrantzou .  Her  autumn-winter collection featured stunning trompe l’oeil prints  with International Herald Tribune fashion editor Suzy Menkes calling Katrantzou’s work “a collection of startling beauty”. It was only Katrantzou’s second solo show.

Karantzou trained at the Rhode Island School of Design and then continued her training at Central St Martins.  The detail of the prints are unbelievably  detailed…and those lampshade skirts would hide those problem hips too!

 






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Collecting, Cool Places, Design, Design Alphabet, People, Shopping

A is for Azzedine Alaia

28 February 2011

A is for Azzedine Alaia

Many years ago one New Year’s Eve, I went to a dance party (it was the late 80’s!) in the Hordern Pavilion , Sydney.  Grace Jones was the headline act and she swept onto stage wearing a magnificent hooded leather cape.  That cape was by Azzedine Alaia and as fashion moments go, it was a thrilling one.  Later in the act, she flung off the cape onto the stage where it was stolen!  I read in the paper later that she never got it back, even though she asked for it to be returned.  Some thief (or crazed fan) in Sydney still has it.

 

Tunisian born, Alaia (pronouced Aliya) has worked for some of the most exclusive designers (Dior, Mugler, Guy Laroche) in Paris since the 50s.  Andree Putman, was stopped walking down the street in New York by a buyer from Bergdorfs, and his career in the US was launched.

 

He still produces the most magnificent clothes and shoes.  Cut and punched leather and figure hugging shapes are his signature.  He has eschewed the marketing push of the large conglomerates (Richemont, Prada) that have had stakes in his business and just sticks with what he wants to do, rather than designing the latest ‘it bag’.

In HK, get Alaia at Lane Crawford, or online at Net-a-Porter.

 











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Collecting, Cool Places, Design, Hong Kong, Interiors, Objects, Shopping

Ovo launches new stingray and petrified wood collection

27 February 2011

Ovo launches new stingray and petrified wood collection

Ovo has recently launched their new stingray and petrified wood collection.  As you have probably gathered, I am pretty partial to the use of natural materials in a luxe way, using quite a bit of stingray (or galuchat as it is also know) in my own furniture and jewelry designs.   These designs, which are simple and classic, certainly  more than do the job.  Check them out at OVO in the designer Star Street Precinct now.

OVO

16 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai  tel:  +852 2526 7226











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Collecting, Cool Places

Cool Collect… Export Silver

20 February 2011

Cool Collect… Export Silver

I love the muted gleam of silver and its weight in your hand.  Over the years, my collection  was by English makers.  Of course, the English were, prior to the 20C, the best silver makers in the world, but I have been seduced by the silver made for the export market by Chinese silversmiths  in the late 18th century through to the 20th Century.

These handmade pieces are typically decorated with eastern motifs, meaningful as well as beautiful: dragons (a symbol of strength and virility- a great gift for your man!), bamboo(resilience), plum blossoms (new beginnings), lotus (fertility), chrysanthemums (blooming through frost).   These designs were applied onto western shapes: tea sets, mirrors, dressing table sets and salvers being typical. Since Westerners spent months traveling to and then living in the far east, they chose a pattern that could be custom-made while they holidayed or worked.

The quality of these pieces are some of the finest you will ever see.   The pieces are easy to identify, with the initials of the maker beside chinese characters. There are few fakes: generally even a novice can tell the age of the piece by its patina and markings, but to make sure, deal with reputable specialists: Esme Parish, with offices in Singapore as well as Hong Kong,  and Honeychurch Antiques in Hollywood Road often have some gorgeous pieces.

 











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Collecting, Cool Places, Design, Objects

Arne Jacobsen

19 February 2011

Arne Jacobsen

This is a first of a series of occasional posts looking at great designers you should know.   These greats continue to influence designers today.  Most of the objects will be familiar to you and are readily available.

Instead of random order, I have decided to post alphabetically…though I reserve the right to go forwards or backwards at will!











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Design, Interiors, Resources

Choosing an Interior designer

18 February 2011

Choosing an Interior designer

So you have moved into a new home….you may be renting , buying or, as illustrated, renovating and suddenly your old stuff looks tired,  boring,  just doesn’t fit or doesn’t exist!   A person that can help you could be an interior designer.

Designers can do everything from picking a paint colour to redesigning and extending spaces.

How do you know who will be right for you?

  1. Budget- it’s not so much about how much you spend but how you use it-try to use whatever you have….I am sure that you have a favourite piece that you love.  It may be a work of art, or a comfy piece of furniture that needs some restoration.   Purchases should be divided into essential and non-essential.   Finishes can be chosen according to budget.  A good interior designer doesn’t always choose the most expensive thing. The best guide is spend what you can afford, pieces can be updated or put off for a few months or so.   It’s lovely to have everything perfect…but where’s the fun in that!   A home should be a reflection of you, not the designer!
  2. Personality- Go with someone you can comfortably talk to and who will listen to what you need.
  3. Scope and Expectations- be clear about what the job entails: are you picking out curtains and paint colours or are you brushing off the sledgehammer.   Your designer can tell you how long it should take and what it should cost.  You will also have to be clear as to how much input and time you are willing to invest in the project.
  4. Style-make sure that you like your designer’s style and you could imagine living in spaces they have created.   You may ask for a portfolio, or visit some of the designer’s past projects. You should show the designer examples of things that you love, whether it be tear sheets from magazines or a favourite piece of art.
  5. Get a quote- Some designers charge a flat fee while some charge by the hour.   You should be clear about what the fee will be and the services that the designer will provide.   For example, are they going to oversee installation or are they just providing a concept.
  6. Time- make sure the designer has the time to take on your project  and give it the attention it deserves…you are the client!











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Art, Cool Places, People

Cool people…Banksy

17 February 2011

Cool people…Banksy

This vandalised billboard (top) was completed by banksy in LA.  It has been claimed by the billboards owners CBS Outdoors, even though the garage owners offered to pay 10000 USD to allow it to stay.  Lucky them- a banksy artwork for free!

banksy was in LA for his oscar nominated film ‘exit through the gift shop’.

 

Other LA artwork spotted- a young shooter armed with crayon ammunition (bottom).

 











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