Stick to what works

via selectism.com

What is it about A.P.C. that other brands don’t possess? Why do I have such a soft spot for anything that Jean Touitou designs? After I stopped relying on Isabel Marant, who used to be my go-to designer until her design became too loud for my taste and the prices skyrocketed disproportionally to the quality, I instead started putting my money into more clothes from A.P.C. In terms of designers, this has resulted in a very homogenous selection of clothes in my wardrobe. However, whether you like it or not, it’s a fact that most of our choices, especially the insignificant and habitual ones, are based on brands. And yes, we stick to certain brands if they work otherwise we would have to face a myriad of different brands for each and every product that we need and want – and too many options are driving people crazy, not to mention time-consuming . Fortunately, I didn’t had to go through a hassle of hunting in the jungle of designers to find the ones that cater to my personal taste and style.

Whenever I need something feminine, beautiful, effortless yet luxurious, I shop at Vanessa Bruno. Church’s is my go-to brand for well-made quality leather shoes. I depend on REN and Aesop when it comes to skincare and hair products. I only use Moleskine planners because they always work. And I always go to A.P.C. whenever I need or want something new, whether it’s a pair of sandals or just a warm cashmere sweater for winter. Anything else would be too labor-intensive.

So why do I always choose and rely on A.P.C.? Obviously, it’s by all means because the clothes are incomparably simple, understated, and timeless. Even though it’s just a plain sweater that comes at a hefty price for a poor student like me, I could never find anything remotely similar at Zara, COS, or Isabel Marant for that matter – trust me, I’ve tried looking so many times to little avail. There is something about the classic cut that is hard to unearth, but unlike many other designer labels out there, A.P.C. continuously offers their customer classic pieces slightly and subtly altered every season. The quality isn’t bad either, especially if you take good care of the clothes. Besides, the garments from A.P.C. fit me just right, the sleeves hit at the right place, and so on. A.P.C. covers everything that I look for when I shop – design, cut, fit, and quality, all of which are mandatory.

However, a few weeks ago, I finally grasped why I keep going back to A.P.C. and why I’m obsessed with this designer brand. Jane and I visited the little A.P.C. shop in Toulouse. I was trying on a bunch of clothes, among them several dresses and skirts, and since there was no mirror in the dressing room I had to use the big mirror in the shop where everybody could see me. I hate doing that but I’m glad I had to, because otherwise I wouldn’t have figured out why I love A.P.C. so much. The seller told my friend, who told me that I have the A.P.C. body. Then I realized that he’s actually right. It makes a lot more sense to me now as to why everything I try on from this brand looks like clothes made to measure – which has never been the case before when it comes to other designers that I wear. A.P.C. clothes are designed for my body!

In October, I wrote this little post about the uncomfortableness of wearing dresses. But as mentioned earlier, I tried on several dresses and skirts at A.P.C. – which I wish I had done sooner. They all looked perfect on me and completely changed my body image as I finally found dresses that were made for my figure. Thanks to A.P.C. I no longer feel self-conscious and uncomfortable in a frock.

On a different note, I don’t know anything about A.P.C. and the company’s compliance with ethical standards and labor laws. I know that some of the products are made in third world countries and others are made in France and Italy – but the destination for manufacturing doesn’t indicate anything as to the labor conditions. As much as I try to be a conscious shopper, there is a box that still remains unchecked. But then again, the brand meets all of my other requirements. Nonetheless, to be honest, I think I’m just as cynical as the industry is. Would I boycott A.P.C. if it turns out that they do not comply with fundamental ethical principles? How about all the other things we buy and eat? Who has the responsibility – the consumers or the companies? But would boycotting actually improve the working conditions at factories or would the demand for products drop and eventually lead to unemployment?

Anyway, back to where I started. A.P.C. turns out to be the only clothing brand that works for me all the time and I’m happy with it. I believe everything is perfectly designed for my style, taste, and body. It’s no doubt that the brand commendably possesses a strong, consistent style identity that’s never outdated in the slightest. Just take a look at A.P.C.’s looks from 1987 and 2013 – you can’t really tell the difference, am I right? It’s the same silhouettes, the same style… And for someone like me who loathes shopping, knowing that A.P.C. covers everything that I need and little extra truly facilitates the entire shopping process. I don’t have to go through excessively many options and I always find something that satisfies in every sense.

How about you guys? Do you have any go-to brands?

On the beach of Mallorca

Last week I had the honor of being the only Norwegian attending the intimate launch of Henrik Vibskov’s “On the Beach” collaboration with the Mediterranean lifestyle brand Medwinds in Mallorca. Who knew that he would do a capsule collection inspired by scouts, not to mention launching it on the beautiful beach Cala Agulla? Well, truth be told I was expecting a collection of kooky swim trunks and such but I, for one, was rather taken aback by the streamlined and austere looks – or shall I say uniforms – in this collaboration that didn’t fail to scream Henrik Vibskov from afar – the details, the hats, the performance, and of course the super offbeat rectangular sunglasses. And oh, the installation on the beach was stunning as well – a physically complex and completely unfunctional tent erected in the white sand.

By the time the sun went down, after swapping stories with the other journalists amid laughter and the most delectable tapas I’ve ever had, I caught up with Mr. Vibskov himself to talk about the collaboration with Medwinds and other things too. Feel free to check out the interview I did for Smug. But take my word for it, Google translate does a pretty good translation job and it’s almost as good as in Norwegian.

Spring ensembles

(via badlands-blog.com, lagarconne)

I always look to La Garçonne for sartorial inspiration. The lookbooks over at La Garçonne never cease to be spot on and real. Talisa of Badlands blog – one of my daily reads – put together a post with her favorite looks, and I couldn’t agree more with her wonderful picks so I simply borrowed her little compilation. The second outfit and the last one to the right are my favorites right now. I can’t wait to start dressing lighter and more summery.

Just can’t get enough shoes?

(via vogue.fr)

All the shoes above belong to the very inspiring Gaia Repossi. You know, the Italian heiress and creative director of Maison Repossi, who possesses that intangible “je ne sais quoi” allure and who’s always decked out in the best boy-meets-girl attires. She assuredly has a small, yet splendid collection of well-loved Church’s brogues, which have been on my “someday”-list for quite some time now. I’m talking about the classic Burwood brogues from Church’s. And truth be told, I’ve postponed this purchase several times before because I couldn’t account for buying them at the time even though they’re decidedly timeless and made of high quality leather. But I think it’s ultimately the right time to get hold of a pair, and of course I have some “bona fide” reasons for adding another pair of shoes to my ever-expanding footwear collection:

– I’ve been wearing my winter boots non-stop for three months, so I think both my feet and boots deserve a break from the constant wear.
– The temperature is rising, the snow is melting, and it’s time for a change in shoes.
– It’s still wet outside so I’d better keep my suede boots out of the danger zone.
– My loafers need to be resoled and repaired.. God knows when I’ll have time for that… Plus, it’s still a tad too cold to wear loafers since they don’t cover the entire feet.
– I reeeeallly want a pair of brogues. They’ve been on my list forever! Argh..

Admittedly, these are merely excuses to purchase them. They’re not even reasonable enough if you ask me. Anyhow, when I came across the picture above, it only intensified my desire for a pair of brogues. Internet is indeed a dangerous place.

And, while I’m at it, I think it’s refreshing to see photos of clothes that actually carry the signs of wear and tear in fashion articles that offers a peek into other people’s closets. Miss Repossi’s shoe collection is a good example. The epitome must be “the essentials” section of Self Service magazine. It’s real and not at all untouched. I’m fed up with clothes that look completely polished on blogs, in magazines etc, as if they’re still in their pristine condition. I find them so boring because they’re just an illusion. Beautiful clothes are the ones that have been worn with a big portion of love over time.

Not just another glossy magazine






It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the road or on the divan, because nothing is as cozy as a bit of leisure to sit back and dive into some reading material in the midst of the dreary winter days. In my case, I’ll be savoring the teeny weeny bit of free time in the air reading. Yup, I’m leaving for Berlin this weekend and would love some insider tips by the way. But first, check out the fifth issue of the independent Scandinavian fashion/art magazine SMUG for some reading pleasure. SMUG #5 is finally hitting the magazine stands next week and is hands down one of the best, if not the best, Scandinavian publications out there, at least in my estimation.

The magazine is jam-packed with enthralling articles and editorials, featuring, but not limited to, Patrick Wolf, Yuja Wang, Andrea Mary Marshall, Larry Heard, works by Michael Donovan, and Hedi Slimane. I think my favorite interview is the one with Peter Gatien, which is both a heartbreaking and interesting read about the mogul behind four major clubs in NYC a few decades ago. And as a longtime fan of Hedi Slimane, it’s no wonder that I’m literally exhilarated by the fact that he’s one of the magazine’s contributors. He never ceases to amaze me and it’s a true honor to feature his works in SMUG.

For those of you fashion savvy ladies, you’ll most likely get a thrill out of the conversations with the fascinating and talented Bruno Pieters, Siki Im, Jacquemus, and Katie Gallagher. The Bruno Pieters interview might inspire readers to consume more mindfully, not to mention raise awareness about the subtle political aspects of fashion. And one of the French up-and-coming youngsters featured in this issue, Simon Porte Jacquemus, who has a serious penchant for uniforms and who also wears his favorite clothes over and over again, talks about how he accidentally became a minimalist, his partiality for creating a sense of boredom, and distaste for details.

Anyway, the fifth issue of SMUG is the last one in Norwegian as the magazine will be internationally distributed as of summer 2012. 276 pages of timeless content and impeccable design, paper, as well as beautiful typography. What’s more to add? Well, it’s a magazine people will hold on to for many years to come. And if you happen to be in Oslo on Saturday, don’t forget to hop by the magazine launch party for SMUG #5.

PS: The only place you can get hold of this magazine in the US for now, albeit it’s in Norwegian, is at The Armory Show in New York City!

La Marinière

It’s no surprise that I have a penchant for striped tops. They’ll never cease to be versatile and super chic. Breton tops are decidedly the mainstays of my wardrobe and I’m afraid I will never have enough of them. I’ve come to the point where the distinction between want and need has become indistinguishable to the hilt. Oh well… How many striped shirts is enough? I don’t know, I’m too smitten with all things striped to care, haha.

Anyway, one of my favorite bloggers, Louise Robinson, just created this incredibly chic tumblr dedicated to the perennially timeless breton shirt. Check out La Marinière for some stripey tumbling inspiration. I’m already hooked!

Frivolity

(via cokogalore.com)

“You’re considered superficial and silly if you are interested in fashion, but I think you can be substantial and still be interested in frivolity.” (Sofia Coppola)   

“If you compare it with philosophy, [fashion] is frivolous. But frivolity may be something good, something that is part of our lives. So I don’t dislike it. And what I like is the mix — that in your life you can have serious things, more frivolous ones. Fashion is about beauty and the search for beauty, I think it’s a fundamental thing. No one criticizes if you want to do beautiful homes. No one criticizes if you want to buy a beautiful chair. But so many intellectuals still criticize why you want to wear beautiful clothes, and it’s only our body, so it must be important in a way.” (Miuccia Prada) 

“There is always some frivolity in excellent minds; they have wings to rise, but also stray.” (Joseph Joubert) 

“I think here’s nothing wrong with being interested in frivolity, so long as it isn’t your be-all and end-all. Physical things like fashion, architecture, design are important to me because they frame the life you lead – they’re the backdrop and settings that intersect when you form an emotional attachment or memory in association with them.” (Lin, out-of-the-bag.blogspot.com)

On using the term ‘minimalist’

(via onesleeplessnight)

Thanks to Phoebe Philo, Jil Sander and the rest of the band of minimalist designers, the sudden torrent of minimalism in the world of fashion has indeed taken the style enthusiasts by storm to such an extent that the expression “minimalist” has become quite misleading.

What strikes me most about this craze is the women who are in possession of 20 Chanel jackets and nonetheless call themselves a minimalist when throwing on a stark Jil Sander suit or a futuristic dress. Isn’t that insulting to people such as Leo Babauta of mnmlist.com, who is genuinely a minimalist and practices the philosophy of minimalism in every aspect of life and not only in half a dozen outfits? To put it in a different context: If Webern were to proclaim himself a minimalist only because some of his pointillistic works may be arrayed in a minimalist attire, it would be very insulting to Philip Glass, don’t you think?

I can acknowledge with 100% sincereness that I find it rather hard to call someone with exaggerated shopping habits and a wardrobe jam-packed with a nearly four-digit number of clothes a minimalist. I also find it difficult to comprehend what’s minimalistic in said instance apart from maybe an understated Stella McCartney-esque attire. Often, I see that fashion magazines and certain blogs misuse this term profoundly, and to be frank; I am fed up with this fallacy. Sure, there are probably people who might assert that having this much can be tantamount to being a minimalist by their standards as long as their outfit is a Céline or Jil Sander lookalike. And sure, there’s an interminable discussion of whether minimalism is about both aesthetics and philosophy/method, or merely the latter. But after all, minimalism is fundamentally all about paring down something to its bare essentials, not only regarding how one assembles an outfit, but also in terms of wardrobe. Well, I suppose it’s an incongruity to talk of fashion and minimalism together. As quoted in this post, this is, in my estimation, the most fitting and precise definition of minimalism:

“Minimalism is not a style, it is an attitude, a way of being. It’s a fundamental reaction against noise, visual noise, disorder, vulgarity. Minimalism is the pursuit of the essence of things, not the appearance.”

By all means, people are entitled to label themselves and their style whatever they desire, but I just wish that people could at least google and look up the term “minimalism” so as to get a better grasp on its meaning before rashly becoming a quasi minimalist. However, how can someone who owns 15 trousers from Jil Sander and 25 Chanel bags be a minimalist?

(The accompanying photo is just a faint example of having perhaps too much clothes, not someone who is labeling herself a minimalist.)
(PS: I’m not claiming that I’m anywhere near a minimalist (yet).. it’s a process that requires baby steps.)

The never forgotten creations by Isabel Marant pt. 2


The never forgotten creations by Isabel Marant pt. 1

Spring/summer 2009: The S/S 2009 collection is not my favorite collection but overall it is truly great and inspirational – and definitely way better than her newest summer collection. A simple but intriguing, feminine yet masculine collection that certainly embodies the real Parisian street style.

I love the loose, slouchy but flattering silhouette, the boy-ish cut jackets that Isabel Marant is known for, the color palette and the subdued bohemian vibe this collection has going. The styling, taken as a whole, is not my approach – but most of the staple pieces, especially the jackets, would make my wardrobe impeccable. And hey! I see a lot of black, and I really appreciate Isabel Marant’s use of black as I wear black all year around.

Calvin Klein S/S 2011

Fashion week literally bores me. That explains why I just recently discovered some great collections. I only follow a couple of designers at Paris fashion week such as Dries Van Noten, Balenciaga, Isabel Marant, Martin Margiela, Vanessa Bruno + a few more (they were all disappointing as expected). By habit, I never check out the designers at New York fashion week because I rarely find any intriguing designers.

But one of the few collections from S/S 2011 that I actually like and/or find inspirational (that’s rare!) is the Calvin Klein S/S 2011 collection. Partly because the collection clearly appeals to my aesthetic. I want to wear everything from this collection. I adore the small but significant details like the almost-invisible pockets and drawstrings. All the fabrics look so delicate and I love the way the materials flow on the models. The barely there make-up and the semi-tousled ponytail are effortless and just perfect. As for the pared-down style and the architectural minimalism, Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein is a genius.


(via fashionshowphotos.net)