Lighting the way with hansel

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Longtime readers of Wottoncool should be no stranger to hansel.

We’ve, meaning Jo and I, have since 2008, written about the brand here, here, here, here, here and here, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! I’ve even gone so far as to say that hansel should be considered an icon of Singapore, more so than the run of the mill ‘chicken rice’ and the likes.

(Is it a crime to fathom being over chicken rice?!)

At times, I think Singaporeans get stuck in our comforts. Movie-going, favourite haunts, usual foods… same ol’, same ol’. Classics, no doubt, but don’t win any awards for ground-breaking innovation.

But perhaps, my appetite for the new, novel and innovative rates higher than average.

It is always refreshing to see that designer and founder, Jo Soh, presents with hansel each season.  The latest season, which had its debut at Audi Fashion Festival 2014, is titled ‘Fairy Lights’.

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Inspired by the decorative and celebratory ornaments which, in my family’s case, are whipped out annually for Christmas, the ‘Fairy Lights’ collection feature three original prints. I’m equilaterally torn between which of the three is my absolute favourite and pockets permitting, would have stocked my wardrobe with at least one item of each print!

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The first print (above) is titled ‘Fairy Lights’, like the collection. Bright, colourful, whimsical. I don’t know if it’s physically possible to be sad or upset in such a happy print and happy dress. This print also comes in a Navy/White colourway as well (bottom right).

Hansel Fairy Lights Dresses

The second print is linear, continuous squiggle of lights. Aptly called ‘String Lights’. Looking the print alone, and out of context, I wasn’t such a big fan to be honest. But after my internship with Jonathan Simkhai in New York, I have newfound respect for designers to look at a roll of fabric/patterned fabric laying flat on a table and visualize it coming to life in a skirt/dress/shirt/garment of their choice.

Apparel at hansel and diffusion line, hello hansel, which feature the ‘String Lights’ print in contrasting white and black came in several, very versatile variations – from a maxi dress, to sleeveless (very work-appropriate) dress and even to separates.

Hansel Fairy Lights String lights dress and playsuit

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A look around hansel’s Mandarin Gallery store, and one can quickly see that dresses feature very extensively throughout the collection. Understandably so. I can imagine a lot of frazzled shoppers falling in love with print separates and then running out of options of how they can pair/match their purchases, thus opt for dresses. Which eliminates the dilemma altogether.

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But for myself, my heart leapt (quietly) when I found/noticed the separates (below). (Yay for separates!!) I find a lot of joy in challenging myself to pair purchases in new, unsuspecting ways. Sometimes they work, other times, maybe not too well. In my own small way, I guess that’s how I feed my penchant for new and novel.

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And maybe that’s what Jo Soh had intended with this ‘Fairy Lights’ collection, for people to celebrate not just the collection, but for the clothes, in and of themselves, to bring about joy (be it in the dresses or separates), however one derives joy from beautiful design.

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And all this without breaking the bank (too much). The collection is priced between $99 and $419. And considering these are all unique prints, that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. I’d say it’s worth the investment.

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The final print is titled ‘Coiled Lights’, which is kind of a cheeky play on oversized polka dots or light bokehs, depending on how you look/squint at the print. The third and final print from the ‘Fairy Lights’ collection.

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For a glimpse into the process of pattern development, have a look at hansel’s blog, which chronicles three ‘Fairy Lights’ prints in greater, more intimate detail.

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And don’t forget to check out the hansel boutique located at Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road #02-14.

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Mermaid Imaginations

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It’s no surprise that Linda Hao’s capsule collection ‘A Psychedelic Trip Under The Sea’, which launches on Yesah today, exudes as much spunk and character as the designer, DJ, entrepreneur, model (and superwoman!) does. Her Spring/Summer 2014 capsule collection narrates a whimsical tale of a mermaid lost in the open sea and her happy aquatic adventures as she traverses corals and underwater canyons, encountering sea creatures, crustaceans and, I imagine, the occasional anemone or two.

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Inspired by the tunes of Valley Vacation by Classixx, Shapeshifter by Elephant and Bjork, the collection also showcases a very successful collaborative effort between Linda and illustrator cum fashion textile designer, Teresa Lim aka TeeteeHeehee who adds a fitting whimsy to the collection’s campaign visuals. I especially love the custom prints for this collection, I believe before Princess Ariel has finished singing ‘Part Of Your World”, this precious capsule would have been snapped up!

Personal favourites include the tank dress (above), which looks like watercolours in cobalt, sky, aquamarine and peppermint went wild in a colour bleed party, the shell pocket tee (below) yay! to functioning pockets!

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And the scallop cropped tee (below), which I think may have a chance at sneaking into my work wardrobe as part of a high-waist skirt/pant combo.

YXT-CAMP-09 YXT-CAMP-03The collection is available from today, 27 January 2014, and is stocked at the following venues:

1. Temporium
72 – 74 Dunlop Street

2. W.E – Workshop Element
Westgate,3 Gateway Drive #01-34/35

3. www.yesah.net

#YESAHXTEETEEHEEHEE

 

Newfangled folkwear: Pitchouguina AW13

Vintage has been done but not quite dusted with its variations of deconstruction, reconstruction and what have you. So it seems like we won’t take these old fashions and traditional garments as is, primarily because they are overwhelmingly detailed and a little fussy for our lifestyle that has evolved since our gramps.

What’s interesting are newfangled folkwear and I say that because of their contemporary cuts and ethnic accents (plus they don’t have to be obvious and plain for all the recognize). Easy to like and wear, without coming across as tacky and to much for a dinner date, day of meetings or casual coffee run.

A designer who is particularly fond of injecting semblances of traditional tailoring and embellishment is Anna Pitchouguina. Of Russian descent and economics background from Poland, Anna took to the states and worked with Derek Lam in New York, then in London with designers like Christopher Kane and Michael van der Ham. All that rolled into a lovely, cohesive and desirable package, branded Pitchouguina, and based in East London since 2010.

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Here we get Anna involved in a short round of three questions:

What inspired you to take the route of fashion instead of economics?

Probably the need for creativity that you can touch and feel with hands. Sort of independence as well, but as economics were an interest at first, I am still really interested in the business side of running and starting a label. I think those two things combined is an advantage.

How have you and the brand evolved since your first collection?

Now that I look at it, it has grown up, materials have gradually became heavier but the color palettes are still quite limited and calm. From the very first collection I was trying to put a little handmade/ Russian-related detail, you can still see this in our fluffy hand knitted pieces and a bulky vest-jumper knitted all by hand in Russia, for AW13.

What is the AW13 collection about, and which is your favourite piece?

Collection is always a mood story, that I try to create with fabrics, colors and feminine shapes. This collection is a bit less flowy and a bit more boxy but I still kept my obsession of having some flower motifs. It’s the feeling of awakening the autumn. Favourite piece – a knitted chunky fluffy sleeveless jumper.

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You can find Pitchouguina in small independent bouquets in Eastern Europe and also online at cloudmine.pl. Stay tuned for their online store on their website come September. They will also be showcasing their collection in Guangzhou very soon!

Pictures from here.

Test for Acidity

Take a cauldron and with some imagination, stew together a dash of eye-popping neon, throw is a newt of vinyl, a spider’s leg or two of mesh and sealed with the slow simmer of unexpected slits in the waning moonlight. Visualize the end result. Because I have a question…

Does it look pretty?

Well, it should.

Mae Pang’s Ph3 collection is a happy culmination of all the things I least expected would work well together, yet it’s absolute perfection. I have many favourites from this collection. The Black & Blue vinyl graphic tee, Panelled Vest top and the Pleated Dress with collar (below).

 

But the all-time favourite is this skirt with side slits.

You never need to worry about any upskirt moments and the side slit is mighty sexy! Extra motivation to workout more and keep my legs tanned and toned 😀

Max Tan

There’s been a bit of buzz about how the US$ and AUS$ are now on par. But when you are poor, nothing changes that fact. So when Jo and I visited Max.Tan’s store at Parco, tempted as I was to try stuff on… I had to resist for fear of my accounts being in the reds.

While waiting for Jo to try on some designs, this look (below) caught my eye. Oozing casual comfort and uber effortless style: Vest + Jumper combo. MEGA LIKE!

Good thing it wasn’t in stores yet!

I must resist the retail therapy bug.
I must resist the retail therapy bug.
I must resist the retail therapy bug.

Or shouldn’t I? 😀

Reebonz

Here’s an equation that holds true (at least for this month, for Singaporeans, and those who like to shop):

GST rebate + sales = consumer spending (GST rebates are given to Singaporeans, from our beloved government to tide us through these tough times)

So with the increase of consumer spending, you increase the aggregate expenditure of the economy, and in turn, the national income. Woohoo!

A great place to start helping the economy is…

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Reebonz!

Reebonz holds sales events for local and international upmarket labels. You get online during the sales period, choose what you want, click around, and get your excloooosive designer togs at bargain prices.

But wait. Before you can even get into the site, you must be invited. And lo and behold, Reebonz has provided us with a special invitation code for our readers.

Log on to http://www.reebonz.com with the invitation code: wcool

After you have registered with Reebonz, you too can invite your friends. You’ll earn credit that you can use for your purchases with every purchase from the members you invite.

In times like these, it’s good to stretch yer dollah. Even better when your dollah comes free!

So far we’ve heard that Reebonz has tied up with local brands like alldressedup and hansel. EXCITES! Then there are international brands like La Perla and Skagen.

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If you use our invite to register and log in, you’ll see that they’ve g0t Miu Miu, Givenchy, Gucci and Roberto Cavalli on the line up as well.

You have to go register. Like, now.

Log on to http://www.reebonz.com with the invitation code: wcool

This invitation code will be valid till 8 March.