Lighting the way with hansel

Hansel Fairy Lights 02


Hansel Fairy Lights 01

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’.


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!

Hansel Fairy Lights Maxi dress 01

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


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.



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


Kueh Kueh

Firstly, sincerest apologies for the dark images. My attempts to adjust the lighting didn’t turn out too good so I figured I’d stick with the original coloration.

But in any case…

On Sunday, hansel launched their latest collection ‘Tiers of Joy’ featuring the layered nonya kueh as the signature print for the season. Done in three styles – kueh on black (above), kueh on white (below left) and kueh outline on grey (below far right). I think it’s quite a fun and funny take on this slice of Singapore nostalgia.

Initially I was eyeing a tee with the bright kueh on black. But Xiao Wen bought it, so I chose the white background version instead. At $79 (before the one-day only 20% discount, thought it was a pretty decent and very colourful purchase!) It’s almost excessively cheerful and primary coloured (if there’s such a term). But in trying to keep with my promise to support local designers more, thought I’d do my bit and engage in some therapy, of the retail sort! (:

My favourite pieces were the ‘Tiers of Joy’ exclusive jewellery. The kueh kueh earrings and brooch (background) were amusing but I much preferred the set-of-five necklaces (above, centre), earrings (above, right) and rings (not shown). Think it offers so much more mileage in terms of ways of wearing and options of how to wear. Individually or as a set. Could give one to a friend. Could give one to each of your best friends even.

The jewellery series is part of a special collaboration with the Little Drom Store.

And in addition to the cookbook shoot, designer Jo Soh went through the troubles of creating a video (which I cannot find online, sorry!) But you can see her elaborate set and behind the scenes images here!

The video is done very nicely and I urge you, if you haven’t already, make a beeline to the store to check it out and at the same time peruse the shelves and shop your heart out. (:

The hansel Shop is located at #02-14 Mandarin Gallery.

Closet Clearout – All these have to go!

Sarah is clearing out her closet. My closet has simply run out of space and more importantly, the proceeds from this sale will go directly towards my ‘Send Sarah to New York’ fund. All the items are pre-loved. Some are thrifted, some are branded. If there are any issues with the piece, I’ll declare it outright. If you aren’t fully happy with it, send it back, no questions asked. But please remember, it’s going to a very good cause 😀

Terms & Conditions

Unless stated otherwise, item fits a UK8 (top). UK10 (bottom).

If you are interested in any item, send an email to with ‘Item Description’ as the title. Include your name, contact number and any questions you may have about the product. A confirmation email containing the bank account details and total amount to be transferred will be sent. Only after payment has been made (via bank transfer) will I mail out the item. Prices include mailing cost (within Singapore). If you would like the item to be sent by registered mail, please add another S$2.50.

Multiple purchases will get a further discount.

No reservations allowed.

Vintage Yellow Pleated Dress – $48

Fabric has sparse embossed leaf print.

Vintage Blue Dress – $48

Small thread pulls on fabric

Vintage Checkered Shift Dress – $28

Recommended for a UK6/8

Lining is starting to get a bit old.

Vintage Multi-print Dress – $18

Some bleeding of red onto fabric. Bought the dress like that (at a higher price somemore!!)

 Low-back Jumper with Zip detailing – $18

*SOLD* Hansel Black Lace Halter Top – $48 *SOLD*

Brown Pleated Shorts with Rivets – $28

Printed Blue Cropped Jacket – $78

Printed Dress with Red Piping – $18

Recommended for a UK6

Babydoll Flare Patchwork Dress – $28

Black Knit Dress with Drawstring Pockets – $28

Black White Contrast Dress with Tulip Hemline – $28

Recommended for UK6

Armani Exchange White Dress – $48

Fabric is slightly translucent. But nothing that nude underwear can’t fix.

*SOLD* Bossini Style Stone Grey Origami-fold Jacket – $38 *SOLD*

Minor stains on front folds

Max Tan Two-tone Shirt Dress – $48

Dress is a slate grey. Comes out poorly in the photograph. Sorry!

Espirit Green Butterfly Flare Skirt – $18

Recommended for a UK6/8 (bottoms)

M)phosis Contrast Strip Mini Skirt – $18

Forever21 Stretch Mesh Top – $18

Zambesi Bloomers with pockets – $78

Fabric is delicate and has some pulls. Will update with more pictures.

Topshop Rust Sleeveless Top – $12

Hidden Agenda (Thailand) Asymmetrical Shirt Dress – $68

Recommended for a UK 6, or worn half-buttoned for UK 8

 Nicholas Draped Cropped Cardigan – $48


Abyzz by Desmond Yang Two-way Poplin Top – $58

Top can be worn front to back or back to front (as shown). Best styled with a belt (not shown).

Abyzz by Desmond Yang Black Top Exaggerated Sleeve – $58

Sleeves fall differently when worn long or pulled up

Hansel’s new home

Walking into hansel’s new home in Mandarin Gallery #02-14 is kinda like walking into a fantasy dollhouse. Incredibly made up with everything hand-drawn, it’s cute and kitschy, but so well executed, grown women who are really adoring fans of the 7-year-old label buy the heartfelt effort hook, line and sinker.

The floor-to-ceiling sharpie on paper drawings and props make you wanna linger, and try just about everything on the sales floor, especially pieces from the current season, which you saw here.

My favourite of all – a long-sleeved laced sweater priced at S$129, also available in a sleeveless top and short-sleeved dress. Love the contrasting black and cream! I’m thinking if it were to be all cream, it might be granny, not girly.

Annddd….. The ballooons!!!!!!!!! They’re stuck to the ceiling!!!!!!! How cute is thatt????????

Sigh. I wanna redecorate my room like that, just that nothing really functions.

Also in store are adorable knick-knacks like eyeglasses cards and yummy accessories set on exquisite hand-drawn paper silverware.

Like Laila of Rock the Trend tweeted, hansel is kinda like Singapore’s Moschino – quirky and girly all at the same time. You can see that in designer, Jo Soh herself, and her fans as well!

From left to right, myself, Qin (Qin at the Disco), X-wen (Fash Eccentric), and Dottie (D for Dot) (who was also guest-tweeting for Mandarin Gallery that night).

Sooo here’s my suggested itinerary for this weekend: First to Mandarin Gallery for Hansel, then to Topshop Knightsbridge just across the road. Yeap that should busy you for most of the afternoon. Don’t bring your boyfriend along, unless he’s very patient and also The One… who pays for your shopping! 😛

Lily the Lady

Happy Sunday to you! Hope your weekend has been well so far… anyway,

Have you met Lily? Oh no? Here let me introduce. Apparently she’s always in lace and eye glasses (see that layered lace capelet??), which is cute and alluring. But I’m kinda more interested in the non-lace pieces that she wears.

Like these diagonal-striped cardigans and cardigan-dresses that are actually in a zig-zag print. Looks awesome under some solid khaki.

The lace, eyeglasses and the whole collection will be at hansel’s birthday party at their new home in Mandarin Gallery. You could join us at the party if you join our giveaway, right here!

[Giveaway] Hansel is 7!

Hansel is 7 this year! It hardly seems so because every season feels fresh. The store is moving to Mandarin Gallery come December, and that calls for a biggg birthday party!!!!!!

To qualify, you have to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@wearewottoncool).

Write us your wittiest, cleverest, cutest birthday wish for hansel, and one winner (picked by designer Jo Soh) will receive a new limited edition hansel t-shirt to commemorate the occasion, and invitation for two to attend the VIP + Media preview party at hansel’s new shop on Friday, 3rd December.

Enter this into the comments, together with your name, email address, twitter username, and click the “Say It!” button.

Giveaway closes on 2359h, Monday, 30th December 2010. Go!