Wednesday, May 29, 2013

LDN: Score!

Deanne writes...

I'm so glad I chose to live in Notting Hill. Although it's labeled as a spot for overenthusiastic tourists, Portobello Market is my oyster on Saturday mornings. I find something new every single time I go there. Last Saturday, I found a stall that was selling prints by Stanley Chow, an illustrator for publications such as The New York Times and The Guardian. Most of them were celebrity profiles. I was so drawn to the prints because of the way they were done... very minimalistic. And I like how he can capture the persona of the celebrity so simply. No frou frou needed. 

My favorite one was his take on Audrey Hepburn. The vendor had an inkling I wanted to buy it but I told her I would think about it first. So I walked through the entire market before making a decision.

At the end, right before closing time, I found myself handing over a few pounds in exchange for this. Now it sits on the ledge of my window, framed in beautiful white. No regrets! 


Check out his illustrations: photo from Stanley Chow 

LDN: Foodie finds

 Deanne writes...

If you happen to be at the Notting Hill area, wander off a little from the obvious sights and sounds and spend an afternoon at Golborne Road where the hidden gems are located. One of the best is Lisboa Patisserie. Owned by Portugese, you're guaranteed authentic pastries from almond biscuits to coconut cakes. But if there's only one thing you have to taste, it's got to be the egg tarts. The contrast between the perfectly flaky crust and the moist egg filling is divine. I've had a couple versions from Macau and Manila but this one right here tops the list.  Writing about it is practically making me salivate.

I only had one. That was such a huge mistake.


Lower photo from 

LDN: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Deanne writes...

It's really funny how I fawn over journalists. When I found out that Charlotte Sinclair was coming to speak at our college, my heart skipped a beat. Or two. My affinity towards her began when I looked to her works for inspiration. Sometimes, I get stuck in a rut. Writing is such an excruciating process, especially at the beginning when you're trying to find the words for the most perfect first sentence that will grab your reader. Reading Charlotte's pieces often leads me to my aha! moments because they're so conversational, witty, and fluid... just the way I hope my own pieces turn out. 

I prepared well for her talk: sat on the front row, took out my pen and notebook. It was when she was telling us her story, her writer struggles, and her process that I realized how much we have in common in terms of writing.

"I love to research and interview!" Umm, me, too!

"Every journalist approaches an article with pain." Exactly how I feel when I see a blank Word document in front of me. 

"But once you have the first paragraph, you can relax!" Is she stalking me or something? Whenever I have the first paragraph down, I celebrate. I get some chocolate. 

Throughout that hour with her, I was smiling inside. I was so glad that there was someone who could verbalize the daily struggles and triumphs of a writer. It reminded me of the quote by Michael Kenin: I don't like to write but I love to have written. SO SPOT ON. 

I couldn't contain myself so when it was over, I went up to her and had a little chat. And then I asked if I could have my photo taken with her. She replied: "Of course! In our matching coats!" Hahahaha... hopefully we have matching destinies, too. 


Saturday, May 18, 2013

LDN: Treasure Trove

Deanne writes...

Sometimes, my aimless internet browsing allows me to stumble upon good finds. I forgot which website let me to it (whoever you are, bless you!) but when I heard that Assouline recently opened a permanent space in Claridge's Hotel at Mayfair, I immediately wrote it down on my "London To-Do" list.

The afternoon I did choose to tick it off was a particularly bleak one, unfortunately. It was cold and wet (Hello London weather!)... I lost my way for a bit... and I was wearing a pair of flats I didn't want to ruin. But the bookworm in me desperately wanted to get there no matter what the circumstances! After an upheaval in direction (thank God for Google Maps), I found it.

It was a literary treasure trove! So many glorious design books! I was like a little girl in a candy store. The Mondrian-style bookshelf was filled to the brim with totems on art, interiors, fashion, cocktail recipes, travels. I was spoilt with choices, I didn't know where to begin. 

Just kidding, I knew where to begin: the fashion books which were right smack in the middle of it all.

On the other side of the room were the limited edition books, the Rolls-Royce if you may, of the Assouline collection. I was attracted to the Windows at Bergdorf Goodman one, which I have been eyeing for some time now. When I asked the lovely assistant the price, I was taken aback (around 460 pounds). She probably noticed the expression on my face as she began to justify the steep tag... "All the pages are handmade and it's hand-bound... Just look at the quality of the photos, the cover... So much attention to detail!" And as I leafed through the pages, with the images jumping right out of them, I understood completely.

While the quality is meticulous, the content is tastefully curated. Ballets Russes, jewelry, cars, and even Barbie! Leona, the assistant, told me that this is where art book collectors come... Last week, a lady came and bought a vintage book on the Tiffany & Co. window displays at Fifth Avenue. That would have been nice to have.

Actually, everything would be nice to have. Someday, someday.

If you make a purchase, you get a canvas bag as well! I spent a good hour in there. And while it was rainy outside, it was beautiful in.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

LDN: Fashion Photography

Deanne writes...

One of the things I love about London is that there are just so many exhibitions you can go to FOR FREE! For a crazy pricey city, it's so nice that art comes free.

I went to the Norman Parkinson exhibition the other day and even though it just took up a small space, I enjoyed it because the photos were beautiful. He's known as the father of fashion photography as he has photographed for many magazines including Vogue. Before he came along, the models were usually just sitting down looking oh so prim and proper. But he injected life into them!

Here are some of my favorite photos.

If you have a nice dress on, a good photographer is quite handy to have!


LDN: Sheer Genius

Deanne writes...

Sorry to start on this note but I don't listen to David Bowie's music. So when I found out that we were going to his exhibition in the V&A Museum, I reckoned I wouldn't be able to relate to anything on display. I first heard about it in the March issue of Vogue UK. I remember reading Ziggy Stardust... Gay... Rock 'n roll... at least I had a bit of a background on him. Which, really, was nothing compared to all that I was given during the exhibit. 

"All art is unstable. There is no authoritative voice. Only multiple readings." - David Bowie

That was the first quote I encountered when I entered. And it's what Bowie stands for. Even though he creates to reflect himself, he still allows his audience to take it whatever way they want to. That's why people all over adored him. He gave them a sense of freedom; he was the pipeline which people's ideas and identities ran through. 

Music is his first love. He was part of a band but he later withdrew from it because he was getting frustrated with the limits they were setting themselves up against. That was just about right for Bowie to do because he's too much of a fireball to contain. 

As I walked through the exhibit, I was amazed with all the ideas that flowed from his head. Some of them were crazy and bizarre and unusual but all of them were original. Like that Space Oddity song? It was released before the astronauts landed on the moon for the first time. And that film of his where he acts like a mime who can't get his mask off? It  was such a spot on metaphor. 

But he didn't just influence the music world. He penetrated every single field: art, fashion, film, theater. For fashion, he worked with Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler, Vivienne Westwood, and Hedi Slimane. Once again we see the collaboration of two art fields. All art is really a symbiosis and Bowie was a catalyst for that. 

I went to the National Portrait Gallery the other day and I saw this portrait of David Bowie done by Stephen Finer. It couldn't be a more perfect portrait of a creative genius. There's so much going on but it just amounts to one being. And that's what Bowie did. All his creations come down to one thing: the expression of self. 

My favorite part of the exhibit was the room that was set up to look like a concert hall. It was dimly light. There were huge screens that projected the musician playing his masterpieces. I went to the middle of the room and stood there, just allowing the music to take me where it could. I felt such an intensity and it was at that moment I understood why David Bowie was looked up to. His creations have the power to make you... feel. 

I didn't walk out of the exhibit becoming a David Bowie groupie. But I walked out with an appreciation for this "one man revolution". I still can't grasp the notion of how so much creativity can come from one person. Is there ever going to be someone like him?

"Thank God for David Bowie who lifted us from the darkness of suburbia and showed us glittering possibilities!" Yup, that perfectly sums it up. 


Monday, May 6, 2013

LDN: Close up

Deanne writes...

In an attempt to balance my life with work and play, I left my apartment today to explore the city on the hottest day so far. Seeing the sun and being able to wear a dress without tights made me so, so happy! I did a bunch of things... Before finding the Ben & Jerry's stand in Leicester Square, I dropped by the National Portrait Gallery. The first thing I saw was this:

At first, I was like, she looks so familiar! Could it be?

No, it can't be... Or is it?

Of course it was! Anna Wintour! Alex Katz captured her so perfectly, especially with that bob, that I had an inkling it was her once I laid my eyes on it.  I just couldn't believe she was in the National Portrait Gallery. Then again, she is one of the most influential people of our time. The fashion world is in her hands. All roads lead to Anna Wintour, whether you like it or not.

More on my London adventures when my brain is alive and kicking!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

LDN: A sidestep

Deanne writes...

Please, please allow me to sidestep from fashion for a bit and talk about my other love: FOOD. I went to the cheese & wine festival at Southbank last weekend. Every. Single. Thing made me salivate! But this is what captured my heart:

It's really just potatoes and cheese but my god, it's so much better than it sounds!!! It's the quality of the cheese (Reblochon) and the way they melt it that makes it so amazing. I found out today that it'll be in Southbank EVERY WEEKEND. Goodbye proper meals!

I also love how it sounds so fancy: La Tartiflette.


LDN: J'adore Dior!

Deanne writes...

I am in the middle of finishing my first project for the college. Somehow I can't believe it has materialized! I spent the past two weeks researching and writing about Dior, from its beginnings in 1947 to the present. I have analyzed three of their designers and their key collections, looked at their history and development as a brand. I can't wait to share it!

While Google searching for images I could include, I came across this one...

It's Marion Cotillard on the cover of Dior magazine's very first issue and she's wearing the ORIGINAL Bar jacket and skirt designed by Dior in 1947.  She's so lucky! And by the way, it's a beautiful cover. It's so simple but it speaks volumes about what the House of Dior stands for. Which, in my opinion, got a bit blurred during Galliano's tenure. I'm so glad Simons is at the helm now. More of that in my website... coming soon.


Image from Fashion Copius