Sunday, July 26, 2009

I can draw like a fashion designer now.

My instructor, Thalia Stratton, is really good fashion illustrator and has impacted my drawing greatly. She's a freelance artist who did work for Givenchy, Playboy Magazine, Neiman Marcus, San Francisco Ballet, San Jose Mercury News, etc. I'd say my drawings used to be very technical and quite bland to say the least, but now it's getting there. For the class, we need to come up with a portfolio of at least 12 pieces, and so far, I've done about 14. Ironically, doing all of this is quite therapeutic (at least it's not a 12-page paper). For a beginner, I've done a pretty good job, don't you think?

When I first sketched this, Thalia wasn't very impressed because of the ungraceful pose. I personally, really liked the pose because of that. I found the reference from a very provocative Valentino ad with model Iris Strubegger; mine is more on the demure side. I did this with charcoal, which is my favorite medium to work with even though it is really messy. I went into it with some white acrylic paint to give it some highlights.

Given that watercolor is not where my strength lies, I really worked this one. I found the reference from a Michael Kors ad with Carmen Kass. Originally, the pit area was supposed to be open, but the black watercolor bled into it, so I couldn't really implement my design. Thalia gave it some random smudges to make it "not look so hard."

I really struggled with this one because I had overworked it to the point where it was almost unfixable. Let me tell you, dry color pastel is a bitch to work with, but it does give color to a monotonous palette. The reference was a very simple black and white look from Harper's Bazaar, but somehow I managed to complicate it with an orange jumpsuit and purple stilettos. I originally added green for the background, but it looked like grass, so I remounted it and gave it some shadow.

This is one of my personal favorites and it really shows my knack for charcoal. The reference was an Akris (talk about awesome design) ad. I absolutely love the hard and soft color palette of the soft neutrals, blue and the stark black with the hard line graphic element. It will go into my professional portfolio if I apply for a job in the industry.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My earbuds no longer work, so I'm looking for new ones.

Apple In-Ear Headphones $39.99
I've invested in these for more than a year, and they've been good to me, but I had to be very careful with them, which was difficult because I'm such a klutz. What I'm looking for now is something not only functional but fashionable as well.

Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic $79.00
This is the new and improved version of what I had, but I can't use it because I have an "obsolete" iPod Nano 3G. It's hard to keep up with things that I don't want to keep up with, e.g., the iPhone.

GreenHouse Pig Buta Earphones $35.99
My sister actually got these as a Christmas present, but she re-gifted them for someone else, so I guess I'm going to have to get my own. They wouldn't be on top my list of being the most functional, but they're definitely cute.

GreenHouse GH-ERC-SNK Luxury Earphones $39.99
I think I would've liked these more a few years ago when I was in my dark and Gothic mentality. But even today, I'm very drawn to antiquated jewelry/accessories, and for someone who doesn't wear much of that, these snakes are very appealing.

GreenHouse Angel and Devil Earphones $29.99
The idea behind this concept is pretty interesting: the long-running angel vs. devil gag. These are adorable, but they're almost too adorable like something you'd find at Fisher-Price.

Elecom MM EarDrops Color Earphones $39.99
I love the simplicity of these earbuds. They make a big statement without saying a whole lot. I also like the fact that they kind of look like Skittles.

Radius Atomic Bass Aluminum Earphones $39.99
I checked out some of the reviews for these, and they've gotten an average of 4 out of 5 stars, which is pretty impressive. My problem with them is that there's are thousands of these in the earbud market, and I guess I'm looking for something more unique.

Elecom EHP-AIN50 EarDrops Rose Earphones $49.99
These are actually what I'm looking along the lines of: elegance, simplicity, functionality, and originality. They might be a bit too "feminine" (whatever that means), but I might just get them. They're neutral enough to complement my iPod.

Courtesy of Audio Cubes, Radius Earphones, Apple, Amazon

Monday, July 20, 2009

I don't know how I feel about the Pollini switch.

Rifat Ozbek has been the Creative Director of Pollini since 2003 and now one of my favorite designers, Jonathan Saunders, has succeeded him. They're actually on opposite sides on the fashion spectrum. Ozbek has geared the Pollini brand in a direction along the lines of Fendi and Prada. I'm going to miss his use of ethnic prints with such ease. Saunders' aesthetic might be a bit too edgy for the brand's image, which caters to a more "luxury" clientele. Actually, some of his designs for Pollini could be in his own collection.

Ozbek's F/W 2008 Collection
Even though the patterns are all different, the mix of the red tones brings everything together. There's defintiely a Japanese influence with the zori-looking boots and obi. She's strutting down like an "urban geisha."

This coat looks like a kimono cut in half, but it's stylized in a way that resembles a mink coat (so no need for fur). The crisscross on those boots are quite adorable; I wish they made them for men too.

There's nothing particularly special about this, except for the beautiful silhouette; it's loose but tailored very nicely. Also, I've never seen a sweatsuit look this high fashion (I used to wear them all the time when I was a kid). The jewelry complements this look by giving it come color.

The green print looks surprisingly elegant. It could've turned out to be a bad 1970s ensemble, but the horizontal and vertical directions of the print makes it less matchy, which is always a good thing. I'm not crazy about the fur, but it does give it a nice effect.

Saunders's F/W 2009 Collection
I think Saunders did it right with this look. It's stylized in classic Pollini fashion, but you can see the creative outlet in the bold print. I love the color palette of this look.

"Space Elizabethan" comes to mind when I look at this. The tiers are are more futuristic than they are luxury, but it still works. I love those boots, but I don't know if there are customers for that; they'd take forever to put on.

This is very much a Jonathan Saunders dress. I can't see anything Pollini about it, except for maybe the gingham. I think it's because the shapes lines are too severe.

While I think this coat is amazing in color and style, it's still just a Jonathan Saunders masterpiece. The Pollini brand is kind of lost in translation with this new image.

Courtesy of Style

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oh Staedtler, you can never do me wrong.

The Germans have been leading the way in the stationery industry, and Staedtler has been kicking ass for a long time now (1835). Their products have been important staples throughout my school years and I'm pretty most of your guys' too.

Noris Club® School Compass
If you need a compass, you should invest in this one. It's safe, sturdy and accurate. This compass has a universal adapter for pens and pencils up to 11 mm diameter, which has a lot of room for sizing variations.

Graphite 925 25 Mechanical Pencil
As someone who only uses mechanical pencils, it's important for me to find a decent one. Not only do I like the sleek metal style, but it also has many functions. It has ISO color coding, adjustable hardness degree indicator and a cylindrical metal lead sleeve ideal for rulers or templates.

Triplus® Ball Ballpoint Pen
I've actually tried this pen at the school bookstore and it's a pretty good one. The ink is indelible and the grip is good because it has an ergonomic triangular barrel.

Mars® Razor Eraser Pencil
This product is particularly interesting because it's an eraser for ink in the form of a pencil. It's good for pinpoint erasing and you can use the brush to sweep off the excess.

Textsurfer® Dry Highlighter
What a clever way to reintroduce the classic highlighter! Unlike highlighter markers, this one does not bleed through paper and it doesn't smudge. And you don't have to worry about running out of ink because all you have to do it sharpen it.

Mars® Ergosoft® 150 Pencil
This pencil is premium quality especially for writing and drawing (I use this in my art class). It's easy to erase, sharpen, and is break-resistant.

Mars® Plastic Eraser
The Mars eraser is a must-have for anyone who writes, draws, or even speaks. As a fashion designer, I NEED this to create "masterpieces." It's not like those pink erasers that don't do their job of erasing and often leave unsightly marks.

Courtesy of Staedtler

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Of all the Fall 2009 Couture collections, Givenchy speaks to me the most.

Riccardo Tisci's structured aesthetic has modernized in a way that is very different from Hubert de Givenchy, but I love where the direction it is headed. For the 2009 Fall Couture line, Tisci has
combined a stern silhouette, Berber culture, equestrianism in a very inspired rather than literal way. And if it is literal, oddly, it is still wearable.

I usually am not a fan of velvet, but Tisci pulled it off with this dress/jacket. The hood also adds an element of quirkiness to the look. What I don't really like are those open-toed boots. They distract the beautiful textures of the jacket/dress.

This Berber-inspired look is only literal with the jewelry. You kind of need the gold on the face because without it, it'd look like a rendition of 1990s hip-hoppers (if that's what you like).

Tisci, how sci-fi of you. Anyway, I like this dress because there's something very architectural about the top area. The shimmering of the fabric brightens up the black. Actually, here's where the open-toed boots work because the dress remains the main feature and the slit is high enough to balance out the proportions.

Can you go to war in this? Probably not, but you'll definitely stand out in a crowd of soldiers. A gold chained top like that is hard to miss. Most of the time, there is something called "too much," but this style taboo has been broken quite nicely by Exhibit A. At the same time, there's something very harmonious about the look.

The top of this dress is modern enough to not fall into that Grecian category, which is good because that genre can be so cliche. And those specks of green look a little too much like pixels at first glance, but they really do keep this dress from being boring.

I like ombre, but when it's done right, it almost becomes part of "good design" and not just a pattern on the fabric. To keep the white top from being boring, Tisci played around with the draping (off kilter bodice and arm wraps). The red on the bottom is eye catching enough and does not need a more complicated fix.

LOL, the bride looks like a ghost..a beautiful ghost nonetheless. I can't really tell, but is that a wedding jumpsuit? If it is, I absolutely love the idea! Who said women can't wear pants at their weddings? I guess if you don't want to seem all that casual, go with the long veil like the model.

Courtesy of Style

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Martin Margiela, you need to watch your back because Giles & Brother is coming to town.

I love industrial jewelry! It has so much more humor and depth than glitzy bling. Giles & Brother does a great example of showing the beauty in this genre of jewelry. It's a diffusion line named for the brother and sister team behind the rapidly growing Philip Crangi Jewelry empire.

Tiny Safety Pin Necklace $75.00
The safety pin epitomizes the Punk movement, and the simple little motif says it all. Of course, if you don't want to pay 75 bucks for this, it calls for a D.I.Y. project!

Tiny Key Earrings $65.00
Here's an adorable pair of earrings. I don't recommend D.I.Y.-ing these because the weight of real keys might have an impact on your ears.

Railroad Spike Ring $65.00
Ah, the ring made of a nail. I personally like the Margiela one more because I like the closed shape and the antique silver coloring.

Wide Script Cuff $250.00
This cuff is like having a tattoo without having one. The beautiful calligraphy-like pattern would wrap wonderfully on someone's wrist.

Emerald Cut Necklace $625.00

I want this necklace! The non-existent gems make it so endearing because of the illusional effect. For me, humor and irony are very important, especially in a serious world of fashion.

Courtesy of Giles & Brother

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Here's new stuff I have to familiarize myself with for CB2 Fall 2009.

The Fall collection definitely sticks out (both good and bad). The good thing is that it is original, but when you're selling things to people, originality can't always be a priority, unless they have money to spend. In this economic climate, people are more conscious about investing in products of quality and value.

Here are some products to love:

Gear Candleholder $6.95
Reclaimed products are always good because they have new uses for objects that are otherwise unusable. They're very industrial looking and give off an interesting sound when you spin the bottom.

Spoke Mirror $59.95
Here's another reclaimed product. This mirror used to be a bicycle wheel, but it looks like it was probably found in a junkyard somewhere. They stripped off the rubber and slapped on a mirror, and that was that; good D.I.Y. project to keep in mind.

Paperclip Side Table $199.00
If anything, I love the legs of this table. They are intentionally shaped like a paperclip, yet the table still stands. Ironically, the design is pretty versatile and can be used for generations to come. I think this will sell pretty well.

Abyss Bed Linens $29.95 - $129.00
This bedding collection is just awesome. The people basically tape-dyed the whole thing, giving it a plaid effect. It's definitely D.I.Y.-able, but with that much work, I'd rather have someone else do it for me.

Harvey Nightstand $99.95
I love this nightstand. There's a bookcase version of this design, but it's a bit too much. This nightstand is slim and compact enough to enjoy.

Bridges Print $249.00
This print pays homage to pop art artist Andy Warhol and my beautiful city. Matthew Lew did a great job of capturing the lines of the Golden Gate Bridge. I guess the International Orange does a great job of representing itself.

Parlour Chair $699.00
Customers have been asking for a nice chair for the living room, and I think this one's a pretty good choice. I'm not sure if people will really be keen on the color, but the design contours the body perfectly.

Here are some of the things that make me question what the buyers were thinking:

Ikat Pile Rug $349.00
I appreciate the risks that the buyers take, but they need a better picture of the market. If people want ethnic looking rugs, they could get authentic ones elsewhere.

Jain Monk Bowls $249.00
These bowls are a part of the "One of a Find" collection with a limited quantity. They are replicas of the bowls that Jain monks in India use to beg for food. These monks sacrifice all their worldly possessions except for these bowls. They have a great symbolic meaning, except how many people would actually buy them? Also, one of my co-workers has a problem with them because every culture/religion is exoticized except for Christianity; it would be offensive if there was a cross on something.

Go West Pillow $69.95
The Durham pillow is already odd enough, and now they bring in another weird cow fur pillow. What makes this pillow especially disturbing are the spots; it's too much.

Casa Table Lamp $69.95
The lamps this season aren't that great to begin with, but this one is my least favorite. It looks like the lampshade is wearing braces or something.

Finn Lounger $1,099.00
This is a good as a bed or sofa, but it's a little too "Arabian Nights" for city living. Also, you need pillows to make this thing look right. I'm not sure if this will sell.

Courtesy of CB2