Seamlessness

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The summer sun down under can really bite. I recall spending some time in Sydney in ’06 when my family and I would hurriedly rush out of the sun, in between buildings, in Sydney city. The fact that we’d turn the corner, escaping the sun’s biting rays, only to be hit by icy drafts funneled between skyscrapers is another matter. But recalling that incident and after attending the press preview, it’s almost given that a beautifully hand-crafted hat brand would hail from Australia. Introducing Helen Kaminski.

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Helen Kaminski has been around since 1983. They’ve got a strong presence in Australia. They are also popular in America and, closer to home, Japan and Korea as well. Starting 2015, the hats featured in this blog post will be available at Club 21b.

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Personally, I found myself preferring the Kaminski XY designs, essentially all the masculine designs. Most of which boast features such as ‘roll-a-bility’, water resistance and UPF 50+ sun protection. Also, because this range is designed for men, the hat brims come in different sizes, to fit my big head.

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Their signature style utilizes Madagascan raffia which contain natural resins. These imbue the raffia with strength and flexibility. According to an infographic in their release, a ‘Provence 12’ (floppy sun hat) has 18,000 stitches and requires 2.5 days of hand crocheting to complete. All Helen Kaminski hats also boast no visible knots nor joints. (!!)

Depending on design, it can also take up to 85 metres of braided raffia to make one hat.

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As a brand, especially one whose key raw material is so closely connected with the earth, Helen Kaminski articulates a strong  and long-standing commitment to sustainable materials and practices. In 2007, the brand received the Fashion Group International’s Sustainable Design Award  for their  eco-friendly design principles. They are also invested in conserving traditional handcraft techniques by working with local communities in Madagascar and Sri Lanka.

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Designed for the globe-trotting citizen in mind, Helen Kaminski hats with the string at the crown brim line (above) can be rolled up and squished into your suitcase for a beach holiday (or any holiday for that matter!) and they promise to keep its shape! Just unroll and they should pop back into shape.

So you can do away with bulky hat boxes and trunkloads of travel “essentials”, unless you plan to show off that extensive Louis Vuitton trunk collection you’ve been amassing, and pack light, pack efficient instead.

I much prefer (and can afford!) the fuss-free latter.

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Bags, pouches, cases were added to the product line in 2004. They were very nice and very well made, but none of them really caught my eye.

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Was much more preoccupied taking selfies with different hats on. 😀

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Keep your eyes peeled for when they hit Club 21b in 2015!

Geographical Robes

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Wottoncool’s appreciation of origami can be traced back to our baby years in blogging (*cough* 2008 *cough cough*) when I wrote Paper Trail. This love and appreciation for the versatility of paper extended into posts such as Research Paper I: Jackets and Dresses, Dalsey Hillblom and Lynn and Research Paper II: others. Combined with a knack for Finding my way around, a series of cartographical wonderments (in and of itself) are made more beautiful in the hands of French artist Elisabeth Lecourt into meticulously folded, pleated masterpieces.

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Although I doubt I’d be donning any of these baby dolls soon, I’m amazed at the artist’s ability to retain much of the scenes/landscapes without messing up the alignment of gridlines and borders.

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It’s also interesting to see the evolution of map-mapping or cartographic drawing styles, like above, from maps used to tell stories/narratives about the landscape (on the right) about a particularly epic traverse across oceans fraught with beasts of the sea, to maps more concerned with accurately portraying one’s resources (left) and the desire to conquer more land (cos if you don’t have accurate maps, you can’t definitely say that you are king of the bigger hill. Map Dresses 04

If someone made map shirts, however, I’d love to add these to my wardrobe. Especially the one on the right with it’s sepia tones and buttons. What a proper looking Oxford shirt and I’d never get lost again!
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View more of Elisabeth Lecourt’s portfolio here.

 

Image Credit: Talenthouse

The ‘Win’ in Winter

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Mulberry has just released their holiday video entitled ‘Mulberry #WinChristmas’. The narrative tells a tale of the proper Christmas tradition of exchanging gifts, and (in my opinion) laboriously opening each present individually in front of the giver. Personally, after the 1997 financial crisis, my family did away with each person receiving multiple gifts. So one aunt or uncle would be in charge of gifting to their assigned relative’s family and vice versa. But logistics aside, as us kids grew older, the whole act of gifting kind of disappeared altogether, everyone much preferring the company and good food instead (our Christmas dinners are very epic)

I digress.

The Mulberry family in question, take turns out-gifting one another. First with a hand-painted portrait of the recipient (which is my favourite, really), followed by a puppy that can wave too (gifting animals during Christmas is one of the most cruel things you can do! Most end up being return/abandoned because the new owner isn’t prepared for another living thing to be its responsibility), followed by a unicorn (ok, points there dude. Not sure which section of Harrods you got that from, but I’d like one too!)

The kicker is delivered with a dose of ‘Lie To Me’-worthy micro-expressions – shock, confusion, disbelief and a crazy-mad-happy-‘oh yeah, all you other presents can suck it’ over the moon joy when Grandma’s present is revealed.

Watch the video for yourself.

And if you aren’t able to #WinChristmas this year. Don’t worry, there’s also New Year’s Eve/Day, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries, the Great Singapore Sale or next Christmas for another attempt.

Image Credit: Mulberry via Club 21

On your mark

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As the hype surrounding activewear heats up, the countdown to the debut of Beyoncé and Topshop’s joint venture to produce a global athletic street-wear brand for Fall 2015 has begun. According to the release, ‘the brand will encompass clothing, footwear and accessories across dance, fitness and sports categories ensuring a dynamic fusion of fashion with the highest levels of technical performance.

Although the brand will be distributed via Topshop stores and Topshop.com, I assume the line will come under a separate brand name.

I’m intrigued to see how this partnership unfolds. As a potential consumer, I hope to see Topshop and Queen B pour respectable time and efforts into performance-enhancing R&D – material development, aerodynamics, efficient heat diffusion etc.

For the time being, I’ll be clocking in more serious hours and effort into shaping up. Cos if you are into activewear, you gotta look the part no?

Image Credit: Standard UK

The Colours of Trench

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Burberry’s latest video, uploaded last week and with over 3 million views (!), proves the point that tone-on-tone-on-tone is totally on trend right now. Featuring Romeo Beckham and with music by Ed Harcourt, the four-minute long narrative is described as that of a young couple falling in love on the streets of London. But I saw it play out more like Peter Pan playing with his shadow, in the beginning, before exploding into the immaculately choreographed world of Burberry’s London – a “Singin’ in the Rain” moment with slew back up dancers. And made in very Wes Anderson fashion, using a splice of Pantone chart comprising of trench hues of honey, ecru, stone, beige, chocolate and black.

The short film climaxes (at 2:40) with a Cinderella-esque ballroom dance. A swirling succession of honey-toned strapless layered tulle princesses and charming nutcrackers, not a step out of place – moving, dancing, celebrating; the beautiful world of Burberry.

The setting doesn’t look out of place, I imagine, for when the dancers leave and the last laughs of the evening barely linger in the alleyways of these imagined streets, for a little old lady to wander out speaking ‘Tuppence, tuppence a bag’ as the orchestral version of ‘Feed the birds’ plays, and the camera view pans out and fades into darkness.

Or perhaps, Julie Andrew’s voice to sing us out.

Mary Poppins or Burberry, this is ‘From London with Love’.

And if you crave some eye-candy. I’d recommend zipping over to the Art Of The Trench gallery pages for a healthy dose of ‘the latest photos featuring men and women in any colour, any style trench coats shot in all weather’. The only trench I’ve yet to spot is the one most commonly seen in sunny Singapore – the invisible trench.

😀 I kid.

Image & Video Credit: Burberry

Naughty or Naiise


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Our chestnuts may roast all year round and not on open fires, but Christmas is definitely nipping at our noses. Orchard Road is already decked out for this festive (retail) season and likewise, the lovely team at Naiise.com are prepping for a Christmas pop-up store, “A Naiise Christmas”. The pop-up promises a mix of all things fun, fine and dandy. Knick knacks, bits and baubles all to equip you to wind down 2014 with style.

The space will also include food and beverage options. Because we need to re-charge in between shopping. And don’t forget to look out for updates on their workshop schedule. I have my eye on the Brass Jewellery Making Workshop by Stale & Co. (on 20th Dec) and the Silkscreen Printing Workshop by DODT (22nd Nov & 23rd Nov)

A Naiise Christmas commences on 15 November and runs till 24 Dec from 12pm to 7pm daily. The pop-up is located at 72-74 Dunlop Street (in the Little India area).

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