Category: Mode

Festive! Silk shoes with bows

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, silk shoes with bows, Chanel no. 19, Chanel Macau lipstick, Chanel nailpolish

For a night out this season…iridescent eyeshadow in various vibrant shades, Chanel No. 19, Chanel Aqualumiére lipstick, no. 42, Macao, Chanel nail polish in blush pink, a pair of light gold shoes in silk.
Photo for CMC © Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson 2009

The local shops in Sweden are already decking out in Christmas gear, much to the delight of the early Christmas shoppers! And all these festive shop window displays, whether it’s interior design shops suggesting a state-of-art Christmas tree, a traditional Swedish julbock made of straw and wrapped in red ribbons, or a clothing store suggesting an outfit to a fantastic New Year’s Eve party, heightens the season’s anticipation.

Silk satin gold shoes with bows

When it comes to what to wear, I think decorative shoes have certainly made their mark this season, with consumers becoming acquainted with eccentric designs from Marc Jacobs to bold chunky heels from Prada and bejewelled heels from Prada’s sister Miu Miu.

Bows affixed to shoes, thanks for designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, Lanvin and Vivien Westwood (hearts on shoes actually), whether front, sides or back, have also made it to the runways, adding to the revelry of dressing for this upcoming Christmas and New Year’s, that are just about 6 to 8 weeks away.

So in this season of parties, I’m already looking forward to a display of exotic looking shoes, casually tossed at entrances, with designs that are as individual as the wearers themselves!

Wool basic in grey

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, tailored wool pencil dress in brown-grey

In a tailored wool pencil dress with a broad open collar, reminescent of Dior of the mid-1900s. Accessories are a fur hat from Canada, a Chanel 2.55 flap bag, a gold and diamond bear brooch, a gold bracelet, Karen Millen stilettos and Chanel No. 19.
Photo for CMC © Jan-Erik Nilsson 2009

It was just about two to three generations ago in Singapore, when my grandmother was in her twenties, that women tended to sew their own clothes. How beautiful your outfit eventually became, depended much upon your sewing skills.

Many of my grandmother’s friends would not only sew their own traditional outfits such as cheongsams and kebayas, but made their own accessories too, from floral hair pins to beaded shoes. Those who did not acquire tailoring skills of their own usually had their dresses or outfits made by relatives and friends who could. As things were at the time of pre-WWII, it was much more economical to know how to make your own clothes than to purchase them in the shops.

Eventually social values shifted in Singapore as in the rest of the world and women no longer needed to sew for themselves. Still, I grew up with my mother making a lot of my day dresses, both sewn and crocheted, and come an important event such as wedding dinners for example, we often visited a seamstress with a dress idea roughly sketched on paper.

Today tailored dresses, a once inexpensive and natural phenomena, is becoming a luxury. Still, when the opportunity arises, I find absolute delight in choosing textiles for a new skirt or dress, and drawing a design of an outfit that I miss in my wardrobe.

This pencil dress is one of two new arrivals from the seamstress. It makes for good, basic officewear for the cooler autumn and winter months that is just ahead of us. The material is wool and the dress, whose long and lean cutting is vintage inspired, has been designed so that it would keep the core of the body warm, with three quarter sleeves (so I can accessorize with bracelets / bangles), skirt to the calves, kick pleat to the back instead of an open slit and fully lined on the inside. Added to the outfit is a fabric buckle belt, made in the same material as the dress.

Wool basic in herringbone

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, tailored wool pencil dress in charcoal grey, boatneck, Roberto Cavalli shoes

In a tailored wool pencil dress in charcoal grey, with Roberto Cavalli black patent shoes, vintage Trifari silvertone earrings and Cartier white gold ring.
Photo for CMC © Jan-Erik Nilsson 2009

Here’s the second tailored wool pencil dress, but in herringbone dark grey. Same features as the wool dress in stone grey, with three-quarter sleeves, calf-length pencil skirt and lined on the inside. This dress however, features a simple boatneck and a tie waist belt made in the same fabric as the dress.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, officewear, custom-made wool pencil dress in charcoal grey, boatneck

As mentioned above, I do love tailoring outfits when given the chance because a lot of what I get out of it is the process of creation, to see a rough sketch of an outfit turn not only real, but into something you can wear! I admit my fair share of disasters when it comes to tailored clothing, mostly because of the wrong choice of material. A lack of understanding of the properties of a fabric for example can cost the brilliancy of its design. But when everything goes right and the result is as you desired, then the feeling in this process is nothing short of a small success.

On the other hand, I could tell about one of my greatest tailoring disasters…

When visiting China you are often pounced upon by persistent tailors, wanting to create whole new outfits for you or at least shirts for your husband. A few years ago we actually gave in to one of these offers. I fell in love with some very dazzling silk fabrics and chose to have a traditional Shanghai style cheongsam made. The measurements were taken and on the very last day of our stay, a last fitting was made with me standing up and the tailor nipping, tucking, pinching and putting in needles all along the sides, from top to bottom. I must say I can’t complain about the attention or quality of workmanship, but that I should have tried to move some in the dress too, didn’t occur to me at the time.

Back home and after unpacking, I tried on the dress again and realized that the fitting was indeed “perfect”. It sat as if painted on me and I know now what shrink wrapping not only looks like, but feels like when wearing. I swear, if I had eaten an egg, that would have made me look pregnant. After a few years of the dress sitting in the wardrobe, I silently sold it off to one of those two-dimensional Asian model friends of mine who could actually wear it.

Paco Gil, a little bit of Spain in Autumn

Paco GIl suede wedge heels, Louis Vuitton Vernis Mott, Louis Vuitton Multicolore, Nokia

Paco Gil wooden wedge suedes that puts a little Spain in the Swedish autumn.
Photos © Cheryl M. Cordeiro-Nilsson for CMC, 2009

It is more yellows and reds these days on the ground and in the air, than the bright greens of a few months ago, and the guitar instrumentals of Michael Mucklow’s Joy and Govi’s Carioca Cat brings home a certain longing to be in Europe’s south, where the warmth lingers on just a little while longer than in its north.
Continue reading “Paco Gil, a little bit of Spain in Autumn”

Gossamer

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, gauze shawl

White gauze shawl.
Photo © Jan-Erik Nilsson for CMC, 2009

I unwrapped the gift in the mail that had made it all the way from Singapore, purchased from Indonesia. A gossamer shawl, one I wondered how to put to good use when living in this part of the northern hemisphere. Too delicate for autumn and winters and too warm in the sometimes scorching summers of Sweden.

Swedish west coast in August

A beach by the Swedish west coast on a cloudless summer’s day.

But as some things go, the ocassion for its use presented itself nicely when we had a beach day by the Swedish west coast. The gossamer white of the shawl, which reminds me so much of a more delicate version of a cheesecloth that my mother once used to squeeze soya milk from grounded soya beans when I was young, made the perfect beachside pareo to the white one piece swimsuit.

The swimsuit is from Next in the UK, and the wooden crafted necklace, I purchased from a thirftstore in Sweden.

Two toned slingbacks, Salvatore Ferragamo

Chanel flap bag and Ferragamo kitten heels

The beige Chanel flap bag seems a complement to the Ferragamo kitten heeled slingbacks.
Photo © Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson for CMC, 2009

Ferragamo knows shoes. Classic and elegant in design, Ferragamo shoes are what I grew up witnessing most working women in Singapore own and love. A staple in most career women’s closets back then as is today, it isn’t difficult to understand why women generally rave about their Ferragamos – they’re utterly comfortable.

Made with the softest, buttery leather that feels like sheer luxury on your feet, Ferragamos tend to mould to the shape of your feet and make you forget that you’re actually wearing shoes.

Ferragamo two toned, beige black kitten heels

Ferragamo shoes also come in a range of width sizes, from AAAA to D or E, the latter being broadest when measured across the ball of the feet. Most, if not all Ferragamo shoes sold in the Singapore stores are of width C.

“So, what’s with kitten heels? I don’t understand them”, a girlfriend of mine said whilst bringing a warm cup of hot chocolate to her lips. She added that kitten heels of 2.5 inches were odd because they were inbetween the inherently sexy spiked stilettos and the inherently girlie Marc Jacobs or Ferragamo’s Varina flats.

I’ve never really thought about kitten heels, especially when purchasing subconsciously, but thinking back on what kinds of shoes I end up wearing to the office, I realize that most have actually been kitten heeled pumps. Ultimately, it was the comfort factor, when having to walk about in the office from meeting to meeting or even getting to and from work, you appreciate shoes that are kind on your feet. In the highly competitive life in Singapore, missing the first 3 minutes per interval train system during your rush hour timeline also inevitably makes you feel behind time. This is especially so if you make it to the platform just in time to see the train take off without you. Kitten heels give you that two seconds advantage over the stilettoed.

Ferragamo two toned heels

Beige and black with an embossed logo on the front of the shoes.

This pair of two toned, sleek kitten heeled slingbacks are indeed comfortable. For the sassier career woman, you might wish to check out the new Ferragamo Creations range. The Viatica for example, is high on my list of appealing shoes! It probably isn’t as comfortable as these two toned slingbacks, but as with every Ferragamo piece, it’s symmetry and balance in design is a work of art. And definitely eye candy enough for office conversation.

Summer reading in CHIJ blue

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Reading 1

A blue pinafore dress by Alice and Olivia in a royal blue that is close to, if not just a slight shade darker than the CHIJ (Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus) school uniform blue I grew up wearing.

Photo © Jan-Erik Nilsson for CMC, 2009

As a student in Singapore, the days in the month of June are always long. It’s that month when most, if not all students in Singapore have their mid-year holidays, and I gather now that my days were pretty much filled with reading, the ocassional bowling session with friends, tennis or BBQ by the East Coast beach.

Red currants ripening, a fairly common sight in high summer in Sweden.

And though I spent a lot of time reading during the school holidays, the concept of ‘summer reading’ didn’t really hit home, partly because the seasons in Singapore were not distinguished as such, but rather with the monsoons, the summer monsoon and the winter monsoon. The summer monsoon brings with it warm rains, deliciously fat raindrops that drenches all in reach, quenches nature’s thirst, and the kind that ruins unsturdy shoes. The winter monsoon is what characterises the Christmas season in Singapore, with rains distinctly cooler than any other time of the year.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Reading 3

In my hand, my latest summer read entitled Shining Hero by Sara Banerji.

After having worn this particular shade of blue for ten years of my life, through primary and secondary school at CHIJ, it doesn’t take much to understand why I’ve refrained from having this particular shade of blue in my wardrobe, until now.

I thought it’d be fun to have this dress in my wardrobe because it was similar yet different enough from the CHIJ pinafore for keeps. The colour is reminescent, the pleats from the top of the dress are in place, but the dress is generally tulip shaped, its silky material ballooning from where you cinch the waist with a belt, parting like petals to the knees.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Reading 2

Draping at the sides, to the knees. The dress is belted by a columbia blue suede belt with silvertone ware. The outfit is paired with an intrecciato weave, chocolate brown Timberland flats.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, blue ribbon

A cobalt blue ribbon in the hair and turquoise stone dangling earrings.

This hairstyle is similar to what CHIJ girls would wear to school on a daily basis, back from my mother’s time till today. I’ve used in this outfit, a cobalt blue ribbon in the hair. This particular shade of blue for hair accessories as I recall however, was not permitted during my days at the convent. Navy blue, white or black were the preferred hair accessory colours and only one colour was permitted at a time for the accessories. So you couldn’t for example, have a braided black and white headband as that would be deemed too ‘fancy’ for the school uniform.

Red currants 2

These red currants will be ready in a day or two, for red currant pie.

There were plenty of school rules to follow in the convent, one of which was that all girls should wear a pair of school shorts under their potentially billowing-in-the-wind pinafore skirts. I thought this school rule disastrous to follow for personal hygiene standards, the tropical heat alone would make the wearing of shorts under the skirt so uncomfortable that any concentrated effort at learning would be impossible. But shorts over underwear, under skirts were compulsory nonetheless and the students were spot-checked constantly for proper attire. The very act of spot-checking under skirts in the name of decency, would leave many a convent girl pondering the concept of virtue versus duty for the better part of their lives.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, reading 4

Reading, indoors.

Shining Hero by Sara Banerji proved a poignant read on livid lives both in high society and children of the streets of Calcutta, India. That so many of the themes in her book were also reflected in Slumdog Millionaire, 2008 was disturbing to me, never having visited India myself. I found Slumdog Millionaire to be much more genial and optimistic in its depiction of street children than Banerji’s work.

Dahlias

Dahlias in full bloom

Tod’s, understated luxury

Tod\'s grained leather cornflower blue bag

Tod’s grained leather bag.
Photo © Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson for CMC, 2009

Tod’s is an Italian luxury label that offers a distinct laid back, understated style.

The Tod’s Group that owns brands such as Hogan, Fay and Roger Vivier (acquired in the mid 1990s) began in the late 1920s in Italy. Reminescent of Ingvar Kamprad’s story of humble sales beginnings right at home, Diego Della Valle, founder of Tod’s, began selling leather goods from his basement.

Today, Tod’s can be found in select outlets around the world, from Scandinavia to the USA and Asia. No doubt though, the most exciting place to visit for Tod’s products would be Italy’s factory outlets, where its friendly customer service personnel will take pride in showing you its range of products and where shoppers can get a Tod’s for a friendlier price.

Tods logo on blue grained leather bag

My first encounter with a Tod’s product was when a girlfriend of mine showed me her latest bag purchase. It was a pristine quality Tod’s bag, large enough for her daily needs, in the right colour palette to suit her wardrobe and her fair skin, and one that I thought was stunningly bland for a luxury item.

Tod\'s blue leather bag

But after a passionate affair with Louis Vuitton monograms and Chanel quilts, where such bags are immediately recognizable on the streets, I’m now discovering with interest and delight, the subtlety of a Tod’s make.

Tod’s is hardly bland. In fact, its magnetism for Tod’s fans is precisely the Zen and simplicity in their designs. Continue reading “Tod’s, understated luxury”

Midsummer’s Eve, between sunshine and rain, 2009

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson in black crochet sweater

Hand crocheted black sweater made by Rita Cordeiro and silk tunic dress by Karen Millen.
Photo © Jan-Erik Nilsson for CMC 2009

Not wanting to give false hopes for Midsummer in Sweden, the newspapers had, about two to three weeks ago, already begun forecasting a grey and soggy Midsummer for the west coast of Sweden.

Karen Millen silk floral 3

Floral print on black, ending in an asymmetrical hem.

Well, the day proved their forecasts accurate with some strange oscillations between sunshine and rain.

Boho beaded chandelier earrings

Boho bronze beaded chandelier earrings.

But regardless of weather conditions, it’s heartening to know that you’ll always find some die-hard Midsummer fans who’ll spread the festive cheer by setting up the Midsummer pole. I’ve seen how this is done and it’s no task for the faint hearted. The pole is decorated with flowers and blue and yellow streamers that trail beautifully in the wind. The hoisting of the pole and securing it into the ground takes nothing less than cooperative, physical strength. Then comes the sight of little children running around the grounds and that is enough to bring a smile on just about anyone’s face.

Swedish Flags on Midsummer\'s 2009

Swedish flags in celebration of Midsummer.

There were bouts of rain both before and after these pictures were taken, but I’m glad that the rain felt warm on the skin! I never understood how rain could be bitingly cold, almost painful, until I came to Sweden.

In Singapore, you have thick, clashing tropical thunderstorms and when the rain hits you, you’re covered in warm water from the equatorial sky. Rainstorms are almost delicious in the tropics!

As this is the celebration of the summer solstice, the days and nights during these days are long. And I’m all set to enjoy the festivities, preferably indoors this year!

Glad Midsommar to all!

Swedish designers and one label’s take on the nautical theme

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson, Filippa K nautical dress with pearls

Standing in the wind, in a Filippa K dress.
Photo © Jan-Erik Nilsson and Cheryl M Cordeiro-Nilsson for CMC 2009

I’m beginning to appreciate what I now recognize as Swedish and Danish designs. Not that the two are the same but there is a strong sense of clean cut lines, simple yet sturdy styles that come through labels such as Baum und Pferdgarten (Danish), Tiger of Sweden (Swedish) and Filippa K. In fact, Tiger of Sweden has such fantastically cut jackets for men that I can’t help but want one for myself!

Filippa K dress with Marc Jacobs denim and leather lined shoes

Filippa K dress with Marc Jacobs shoes.

There’s something always understated in Swedish design and this black and white striped dress from Filippa K is as loud as the label gets. It’s a superb Swedish take on the nautical theme, that’s very subtle compared to the nautically themed designs of Gaultier or Dolce & Gabbana.
Continue reading “Swedish designers and one label’s take on the nautical theme”

Blue jewel tone dress with a hint of tribal

Love label, blue jewel tone dress with tribal motif collar

A sapphire blue dress with tribal collar motif by Love Label. Large wooden buttons with beads line the collar of this dress, and calls to mind a large wooden bead necklace hung around the neck.
Photo © Jan-Erik Nilsson for CMC 2009

The safari theme, like the nautical theme, comes up almost every summer. And with the jewel toned dresses of autumn of 2007 and 2008, it was a delight to come across this dress from Love Label in a design that juxtaposed the two themes – jewel tone and tribal. An odd combination of themes, but something I found intriguing and don’t mind wearing.

The dress is cut like a shift, almost straight down the sides, with a slight swing out on the hips. I’m using the dress with an aubergine-brown patent leather belt that I purchased in Singapore during my last trip back there. There were gold tone accents in the fabric of the collar of the dress that I picked up and emphasized with a vintage silvery gold cuff bracelet.

One of my favourite things to do at the moment is to pile on similar colours of clothing and accessories, in varying hues, shades and tones. So here, I’ve paired a medium sized Tod’s cornflower blue, grained leather bag with the outfit.

Cornflower, periwinkle blue Tod\'s bag

Blue on blue. A cornflower blue Tod’s bag to complement the outfit.

Love Label is a fairly inexpensive brand of clothing that caters to a younger crowd. You can check out the team behind the brand at their blog, where they’ve just launched their sassy new collection. If you’re in the UK, but can’t find your way to a shop, you can try purchasing Love Label clothing online at Additions Direct or Littlewoods.

The mystique of Chanel Rouge Noir no. 18

Chanel Travel Line flap bag in linen, Chanel no. 18 Rouge Noir and no. 453 Magnolia Rose nail polish

Chanel nail lacquer in no. 18, Rouge Noir and no. 453, Magnolia Rose. In the background, a Chanel Travel Line bag with a twist lock flap, in a lgiht latte colour and silvertone chain.
Photo © Cheryl Marie Cordeiro for CMC 2009

If I ever had to choose a favourite nail colour of all time, beyond the whims of trends and seasons, it’ll be Chanel’s Rouge Noir no. 18.

As far as I can recall, dark nail colours have been around since the 60s and 70s. My mother’s favourite nail varnish colour when I was growing up, was a dark brown, similar to the colour of dark soya sauce. She would wear that to work, to parties and on evenings out. I suppose the colour literally grew on me and I’ve now adopted a variation of that – with lashings of deep red – as a signature nail colour. It’s a colour for nails that I feel perfectly comfortable in, whether in high summer with clear skies, or in the middle of winter close to the festive Christmas season.

Chanel Rouge Noir no. 18 and Chanel no. 453 Magnolia Rose nail varnish

A close girl friend of mine figured out that I just adored Chanel Rouge Noir no. 18 and she sent this yin yang pair of nail varnish bottles, the vampish colour of no. 18 complemented by Chanel no. 453, Magnolia Rose, which is a shimmery light baby pink.

The very light shade of Magnolia Rose is superb for days when you don’t wish to call attention to your nails in particular. I used that shade of shimmery pink at my PhD viva recently and thought the understatedness of it all fitted well with the ocassion. It’s probably a colour I could wear to boardroom meetings too.

When it comes to technicalities on nail varnish, I would highly recommend Chanel because of the ease in which the lacquer goes on and the very short time it takes for it to dry. In my own use, I’ve hardly experienced any streaking with Chanel nail lacquers and love their staying power. Often enough, I find I’m taking them off without them having chipped with wear.

Old school canvas shoes with a twist: La Agrade, Lacoste

La Agrade hot pink canvas ballerinas, Lacoste

La Agrade cerise canvas flats from Lacoste.
Photo for CMC: Cheryl Marie Cordeiro © 2009

White canvas shoes from Bata designed in a similar fashion to the ones shown above, were a staple in the school uniform when I was growing up. Admittedly not as elegant or sleek as the ones above from Lacoste, the canvas shoes from Bata twenty to thirty years ago were heavier soled and came in an all white canvas top that we had blancoed every weekend to get them pristine looking again for the following week at school. The front of the white canvas school shoes were also cut deeper and were known as ‘boat shoes’ because of their shape. I appreciated those shoes for their design because of how I could easily slip into them in a hurry – a practical detail for the days when I just could not get out of bed early enough for school.

La Agrade Lacoste, hot pink, cerise canvas flats

Pink shoes albeit in canvas, are still not part of the Singapore school uniform code today, where white canvas shoes are preferred.

I’ve been through many pairs of shoes through the years, both casual and formal in function and many of them for everyday office wear. And if I had to pick out the more comfortable types of shoes to wear, I would have to say that flat canvas shoes rank high on that list of shoes that are kind to your feet.

I once read that the idea of ‘breaking in’ to a pair of new shoes is a myth – the shoes either fit you and are comfortable from the moment you put them on, or they blister your feet and will continue to do so even after several occasions of use. These pink canvas flats from Lacoste were perfect first time around!

Patterns, La Agrade Lacoste, hot pink, cerise canvas shoes

Leaf patterns on the inner soles are reflected embossed on the outside and on the soles of the shoes.

What I’m loving about the twist on these canvas shoes from Lacoste is not just the pop of colour they add to your outfit when you wear them, but its details – the white leaf pattern imprint runs on the insoles and is reflected embossed on the front and undersides of the shoes.

These shoes give a perfect spring / summer holiday feel, with the knowledge that school days are long gone and you can well go ahead and buy whatever canvas shoes you like, in whatever rainbow colour you prefer.

Maggie of London dress with those Roberto Cavalli heels!

Roberto Cavalli patent leather stiletto heels

Roberto Cavalli black patent leather stilettos.
Photo © J E Nilsson for CMC

At 11 cm high, these skinny stilettos are not the most comfortable to move about in, calling for quite some stamina and that masochist in you to wear them. But some things can’t be rationalized in life and I love them just because they are so impractical, so elegant and sleek in lines – like a drawing on paper that was once fantasy, now turned into reality.

These shoes have a personality all of their own, their tiger striped insoles echoing the sharp look it carries on the outside.

Black dress from Maggie of London, at Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Draped black dress from Maggie of London. Vintage silvertone jewellery from Lisner and Trifari. Thick banded white gold ring from Cartier.

Depending on your imagination and what you pair with the shoes, it can take you from classy to trashy in an instant!

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro in Roberto Cavalli stiletto heels, shoes

I’m not over my fever on draped clothing, so I thought I’d pair the shoes with this black Maggie of London jersey dress that is draped around the collar and ruched down the sides.

Roberto Cavalli black patent stilettos, shoes. At Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

But then again, you could also forget about walking in these. Some shoes are made to look just gorgeous, strewn carelessly on the bedroom floor, and this pair of Roberto Cavalli stilettos is one of them.

Nautical stripes, a Swedish summer staple

Black and white striped top, black Warehouse shorts, Marc Jacobs shoes

By the road, in nautical, flower picking.
Photo © J E Nilsson for CMC, 2009

It took me years to get over my loathe of horizontally striped clothes, to see them as chic or flattering after a girl friend of mine once commented that a red and white striped t-shirt I had on was the ugliest thing she had ever seen.

It also didn’t help that one of the first fashion basics that we learnt in school was that horizontally striped clothes tended to make the body look broader whilst vertically striped clothes tended to lengthen the body.

But growing up, you often learn to unlearn what others have taught you or have impressed upon you through the years and these days, I don’t think much about wearing horizontal stripes. In fact, I think these nautically themed tops such as this black and white striped jumper from H&M can look effortlessly chic, depending on what you choose to pair it with.

While nautical is all the season’s rage on the runways, from Armani in Italy to Ralph Lauren in the USA in both menswear and womenswear, Gothenburg is a harbour city where come summer, you’ll find more nautically inspired clothing out on the streets as staples than perhaps any other city in Sweden. People often throw over a sailing jacket in white and navy or red and navy, that is both wind and waterproof when out shopping, paired with leather docksides. Here, nautically themed clothes are an indication of the city’s history and heritage as a trading port and home to the Swedish East Indiaman company and its ships some 300 years ago.

While April doesn’t usually allow for bare legs and shorts, Sweden seems to be experiencing a warm spell these weeks, with summer weather already here in the middle of spring. The clear blue skies are encouraging people to take to their hobby in sailing, and a view of several sailing boats at sea is exactly what you’ll find in the archipelago region along the Swedish west coast.

In this post, I’ll be sharing a few different looks with a single striped top.

For something casual (shown in the first picture above), I’ve paired the striped top with a pair of black woollen shorts from Warehouse and a pair of patent leather ballerina shoes from Marc Jacobs, as an alternative to docksides.

Marc Jacobs red patent leather shoes with pink bow

By the shadow of a picket fence: Marc Jacobs ballerinas in red patent leather with contrasting pink bows.

Keeping the red patent, pink bowed shoes, the top also works when worn with white shorts for another casual look (pictured below). These white cotton shorts are from Bay Trading from the UK, a company that sell quality items at affordable prices. I like how these shorts tend to look like a mini-skirt from the way it has been cut and sewn.

For something more dressed up, shorts are good to pair with heels, the trend being seen on the runways since 2006 with Luella and Gucci both having their own renditions of shorts with heels.

L\'Autre Chose brogue mules with tie front detail

L’Autre Chose brogue mules with tie front detail.

In my own ensemble, I’ve paired the black and white top with white shorts and a pair of L’Autre Chose brogue detailed mules. I find mules, even stilettoed ones, less dressy than courts and quite common a shoe form in more tropical climates, which make them perfect for a smart casual do with shorts. Espadrilles are another favourite of mine to pair with shorts.

Nautical black and white top with white shorts

Nautical black and white top with white shorts, paired with the L’Autre Chose shoes.

An inspirational multimedia clip from Bill Cunningham, On the Street: a show of legs in Paris (22 March 2009) shows in pictures, how wonderful it is to have legs as a fashion feature, be it in early spring or summer. And I think here, shorts have also gained in popularity as an item to be worn paired with dark leggings and heels; a look that elongates your legs without the use of vertical stripes.

In my ensemble, I’ve paired the black wool shorts with a pair of black patent leather, pointed toe stilettos from Roberto Cavalli. No leggings necessary in this weather, if it keeps up. Cavalli is one of my favourite designers because he never loses sight of what is feminine in a woman, and puts that theme consciously into his designs in women’s clothes, shoes and bags.

Black and white top with black Warehouse shorts and Roberto Cavalli heels

Black and white top with black Warehouse shorts and Roberto Cavalli heels.

Roberto Cavalli black patent leather stilettos

Roberto Cavalli black patent leather stilettos.

As an indication of the warm weather, here’s a happy bunch of Easter lilies, basking in the warmth of the summer temperatures in spring.

Spring lilies with a summer feel, Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Yellow Easter lilies basking in the early summer warmth.

Enjoy the warm weather upcoming!

Project LBD (Little Black Dress)

Angelina Jolie for St. John in a little black dress

Angelina Jolie for St. John

Scandinavia has varying codes of dress for the PhD viva voce, with Hanken in Finland being one of the most formal in terms of ceremonial rites and dress, up to and including how family members should dress and where they should sit during the event i.e. in the front rows of the examination hall. A brief extract from their website, translated from Swedish to English, on dress codes for the viva include:

The respondent chooses how s/he wants to be dressed and the opponent acts accordingly. For men, it is a choice between an evening dress or a dark suit. If tailcoats are chosen, the vests should be in black. In Finland, a PhD public defense is never conducted wearing a blazer or sweater. For women, the basic rule is that the dress or suit should be black. A white blouse and white accessories are fine. If you want to be hyper-correct, then wear only pearls as jewellery: they are white. At some colleges there are “defense caps” to borrow.

Opponent (the opponent) and kustos have their hats with the Act. They wear the hat on the left arm with the emblem facing forward during the entry and put the hat on the table in front of them when seated. The emblen on the hat should face the audience.

The family, friends and colleagues of the family should be slightly dressed-up. The next-of-kin should also be seated at the front of the examination hall. The viva however, is an open event and all who wish to attend can do so, regardless of dress. Acquaintances and those who intend to leave before the viva has finished, should be seated further back in the room, so that they can leave the hall without attracting attention.

Continue reading “Project LBD (Little Black Dress)”

Draped emerald green top

Draped emerald green top by Vogue. Green is the feng shui color of renewal, fresh energy and new beginnings. Combined with purple some believe that it will even be good for generating wealth.
Photo for CMC © Jan-Erik Nilsson, 2009.

It’s finally spring and the days are getting longer up in the Nordic countries. And who’s not looking for something fresh and new to start up the season with?

According to conventional feng shui wisdom all shades of the color green is good for revitalising energy. So in that sense, green in its various shades and hues can be used to this effect. Lillian Too, a fengshui expert, also believes that green is the colour to wear for 2009 for the purposes of attracting financial success.
Continue reading “Draped emerald green top”

Luella Gisele

Luella Gisele limited edition bag with scallop fringe in tangerine

A Luella Gisele by Luella Bartley.
Photo © Cheryl Marie Cordeiro for CMC, 2009

The Luella Gisele bag was launched in 2002 by Luella Bartley, though it only became really popular by the end of 2003 and early 2004 with celebrities such as Kate Moss, Reese Witherspoon and Christina Aguilera toting the bag on their arms. The fact that the bag was named after Gisele Bundchen might have also helped in its marketing along the way.
Continue reading “Luella Gisele

Jasper Conran’s cone shaped heel booties

Jasper Conran ankle boots

A pair of strappy ankle shoe boots with cone shaped heels by UK designer, Jasper Conran.
Photo for CMC by: Jan-Erik Nilsson © 2009.

I’m absolutely in love with cone shaped heels at the moment! I find Rodarte’s and Lanvin’s renditions of the cone shaped heel from 2008 sexiest! Chloé’s are elegant in shape and form, and in this post, you see Jasper Conran’s chunkier rendition of the cone shaped heel.

Shoe boots by Jasper Conran

These shoe boots from Jasper Conran are made in antiqued leather with a softly rounded toe and brass details on loose fitting straps around the tops. The strappy design is a nod to Chloé’s strappy and wrapped boots design from previous seasons, and Conran’s loosely draped straps at the top of the booties, make them good for a casual or dress down day. Continue reading “Jasper Conran’s cone shaped heel booties”

Ruched leggings, beware for beyond bootilicious!

Impromptu shots of me on the phone. I’m wearing a Karen Millen Indian inspired tunic over a pair of grey ruched leggings. The shoes are by Marc Jacobs and the Gobelin backpack in the second picture is from the Epi line, Louis Vuitton.
Photo for CMC by: Jan-Erik Nilsson © 2009.

I have had more than a few fashion faux pas now and then, but I have never had someone literally keel over in laughter because of something I’m wearing – until I had put on these grey ruched leggings.

If there’s any person whose opinion matters to me on what I’m wearing, it would be my husband’s. I’d come home from a bout of shopping in the city, put these on, walked over to him and asked, “So, what do you think?”

My beloved husband’s face was briefly a surprised *blank* and I hardly made a full turnaround when that dude absolutely fell over in laughter! After composing himself some, he explained that there was something in the design of the leggings that visually took off inches from my legs, so that I – lacking better words – ended up looking like a wrinkly sausage!
Continue reading “Ruched leggings, beware for beyond bootilicious!”

Beauty Pageants, a peek behind the scene in Oslo, Norway, 2009

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro visiting the Norwegian Miss Model of the World and Miss Tourism Queen International pageant in Oslo, Norway, 2009. Red coat by Patrizia Pepe.
Photo for CMC by: Jan-Erik Nilsson © 2009.

A while back I got a call from pageant organizer Peter Hadward in Stockholm, Sweden. He is the national director and franchise owner of most of the beauty pageants there are in Scandinavia. After successfully having “done it all” in the entertainment industry in the 1980s and 90s, he has now settled for the challenging task of coaching young women towards fame and glory in the fashion industry.

During the talk Peter mentioned the upcoming international pageants of Miss Model of the World (MMW) and Miss Tourism Queen International (TQI) that were to be held in Oslo, Norway in early March 2009. He also mentioned the possibility that I could come along and coach a small group of Swedish girls through a real pageant.

The girls would participate outside the real Norwegian competition, but would be allowed to appear on stage and would be modelling sponsored designer dresses
Continue reading “Beauty Pageants, a peek behind the scene in Oslo, Norway, 2009”

Beauty Pageants, a peek behind the scene
1 – Dressing and outfit

Natasha showing the dress that later actually is worn by the winner

Natasha, the head stylist, shows the dress that later actually was worn by one of the the winners
Photo for CMC by: Jan-Erik Nilsson © 2009.

The trip up to Oslo from Gothenburg was some four hours of relaxed travelling. The roads were good and were being improved along the way as we travelled towards a more and more wintry landscape in southern Norway. We arrived at about 2 pm and after checking in at the Clarion Hotel Royal Christiania, the first thing was to meet up with Peter and his styling team, and to send the girls off to their various appointments.

Clarion Hotel Royal Christiania is one of Oslo’s most modern and comfortable first-class hotels, and is located at the very heart of Oslo. It was a very good choice and was a very pleasant stay. Though we were early, the atmosphere at the meeting place was electric, with the styling team on location and already at work! Continue reading “Beauty Pageants, a peek behind the scene
1 – Dressing and outfit”

Beauty Pageants, a peek behind the scene
2 – Hair and Make-up

Natasha at work, in the hair and make-up room for the girls.
Photo for CMC by: Jan-Erik Nilsson © 2009.

After selecting the gowns and being properly fitted, the girls were off to do their hair and make-up. The styling team on location had superb energy and focus, working several hours to get all the girls ready for the event.

The waiting time for hair and make-up gave a pleasant opportunity for the girls to socialize, network and do some girl-talk!
Continue reading “Beauty Pageants, a peek behind the scene
2 – Hair and Make-up”

Beauty Pageants, a peek behind the scene
3 – Stage Rehersal

CMC coaching and giving pageant tips to Katarina (left) and Minna (center) just before the event at Sirkus, Oslo, Norway, 2009.
Photo for CMC by: Jan-Erik Nilsson © 2009.

1. Rehearsal begins

When the dresses were all set, the make-up and hair stylists were done, we proceeded to the event arena, which in this case was Sirkus, the largest club in Oslo which could seat 1,100 guests. Appearing in front of that many people would be scary for anyone. However it now turned out that the seats were distributed over several floors, so the show would be less intimidating for the girls than we initially had feared.
Continue reading “Beauty Pageants, a peek behind the scene
3 – Stage Rehersal”

Beauty Pageants, a peek behind the scene
4 – Crowning and After-Party!

The bartenders were not about to be upstaged by the girls; they offered a brilliant show of their own bartender tricks, juggling bottles, glasses and blenders.
Photo JE Nilsson CM Cordeiro-Nilsson © 2009.

Around 10 pm the crowd started to pour in. The photography crews settled in and representatives from print newspapers as well as on-line journals started to appear and introduced themselves. The lights flashed and the sound checks punched holes in the ambience once in awhile. Girl friends, boyfriends, talent scouts and the hot and successful of the clubbing crowd milled around, settling in the VIP areas and the bought tables.

It wasn’t before long that the music was pumping to a vigorous dance beat and the DJ created new sound waves that got the crowd on their feat before the event began. Everything with the show was rehearsed and planned by now. The second stylist crew was on site and they were busy re-tangling any hair that the rehearsal could have untangled. Continue reading “Beauty Pageants, a peek behind the scene
4 – Crowning and After-Party!”

A mix and match of office wear: Patrizia Pepe, Karen Millen, Mango (MNG) and Wolford

Short grey wool coat from Patrizia Pepe. Red cardigan by Karen Millen.
Photo for CMC by: Jan-Erik Nilsson © 2009.

Outdoors today is as much grey as what I am wearing in this post, though my mood is distinctly chirpier than the frightful weather outside.

In this office mix ensemble, I am wearing a short grey wool coat from Patrizia Pepe over an intensively red, short cardigan by Karen Millen.

Patrizia Pepe is one of my favourite designers, especially for outerwear such as coats and jackets. The clean lines in the design and the crisp, clever cutting of material allows for Patrizia Pepe’s outerwear pieces to sit well on the shoulders – details in design and make that I much appreciate when it comes to outerwear.

The cardigan can be worn in a variety of styles, unhooked and open in the front or hooked closed and the tassels tied twice around the underbust to produce a kimono effect.

In this ensemble, I’ve tied the tassles short on their own on each side and hooked up the front. I’m into all things draped at the moment, not being too much a fan of squared-off, stiff and padded shoulders, so the soft slopes and ruched shoulders of this short cardigan suits my look mood perfect.

The red short cardigan is on top of a grey bodysuit by Wolford and the pants belong to part of a pantsuit by Mango, MNG, purchased in Singapore. This pantsuit is something I’ve owned for several years now since I began executive work. A quick browse through my wardrobe also indicates that I’ve so far favoured pantsuits over skirt suits.

Meeting early spring in shades of white

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, early spring 2009 in shades of white

In shades of white in early spring, against a clear blue sky.
Pictures taken for Bengt Enrique at I LVOE LV

It’s when you meet clear blue skies in the still biting cold of winter that you know spring’s along its way now. The temperatures will continue to pendulate between plus and minus degrees but the sunlight is showing itself more these days, with the days getting longer. A change in season is what I’m looking forward to and one that I welcome. Continue reading “Meeting early spring in shades of white”

Diane von Furstenberg, fashion to boost our spirits!

Diane von Furstenberg’s theme for autumn / winter 2009 was Nomad. Photo: Marcio Madeira.

I think attitude plays an important role in one’s life and a myriad of reactions from different individuals can arise from a single event or happening. In these bleak and troubled times in the fashion industry as reported by The New York Times, many collections out there will reflect the sub-conscious thoughts of the designers and people in the industry. Whether one is optimistic or pessimistic, hopeful or not for the times, it’s all depicted and seen in the AW RTW 2009 collections. Continue reading “Diane von Furstenberg, fashion to boost our spirits!”

Recession fashion, relaxed drapes in lean lines

Donna Karan, Autumn / Winter RTW 2009. Picture: Style.com/p>

In On the Street | Fashion Barometer, Bill Cunningham wondered about the impact of the financial crisis on world fashion – what kind of silhouettes and hemlines would we witness in the upcoming season/s that would reflect the times?

I think women these days, more than previous years, would be more conscious about what they’re choosing to buy. Michael Kors, commenting in the New York Times Multimedia said that, “…right now, even the most extravagant woman is putting on her smart cap…my customer is more pragmatic than she has been” He noticed black being sold in his Florida stores where normally, he wouldn’t sell black in Florida because “she thinks she can wear it more than once, she’s afraid of buying something that is a quick toss”. He also noted that women these days would prefer purchasing pieces that can be put together and re-ensembled easily with what they already have in their wardrobes because if it’s expensive, the customer these days thinks about it, tries it on and is smarter about her purchases. Continue reading “Recession fashion, relaxed drapes in lean lines”

In a tartan dress by Karen Millen

Freezing cold! Things you do for fashion!

Dark tartans give me the impression of a mellow festive feeling, a feeling of comfort. I’m quite a fan of Karen Millen because the cutting of the clothes seem to fit nicely on my frame. Well perhaps not all items would sit well on my frame, but most do and that’s enough to keep me going back to the shop. Continue reading “In a tartan dress by Karen Millen”

Chloé’s horn cone heel

My current muse – these Chloé horn cone heel booties.

I wasn’t particularly attracted to these horn cone heeled designs on Chloé shoes when they first came out for the autumn / winter collection. I thought them clumsy looking from the side profile and utterly unflattering to the silhouette. But as with everything else, what items that appear in the designer houses filter out and become naturalized / normalized after awhile; new shapes and designs become more attractive. Today, I find that the shape of the horn cone heel from Chloé has grown on me.

Turn the shoe around and the heel looks elegantly sleek from behind! The design blew me over and won my heart hands down. It’s details like these, with a combination of old and new in design that attract my attention. The shape of the heels from the side are frontier pushing yet the back of the heel keeps a traditional point of view on what’s sleek, elegant and complementary to the female silhouette.
Continue reading “Chloé’s horn cone heel”

Red scarf on Valentine’s Day

I witnessed the post Christmas and New Year’s fire sales around the city come and go without finding anything worthwhile to purchase. I was actually looking for a gift to a friend when I came across, quite unexpectedly, this red scarf on the last days of the H&M post Christmas and New Year’s fire sale.

And what luck! This red scarf was a bargain at one H&M outlet and about 600 m away at another H&M outlet, the same scarf was not for sale and thus, twice the price. As my girl friend once said, it pays to look around when shopping. It was the scarf’s two toned reds set adjacent to each other and the fringed detail that attracted me to this piece of accessory. Continue reading “Red scarf on Valentine’s Day”

February snow in Sweden 2009

Me, in a vintage fur hat, found in a second hand store in Sweden.

It snowed some through the night in what I belive was the heaviest snowfall of this winter in the Swedish west-coast archipelago. Temperatures are around -1 deg C to +1 deg C so the snow melts away pretty fast.

I love it when the snow covers the ground, turning all grey asphalt to pristine white! Unfortunately, the current temperature doesn’t allow the snow to pile up too thick and soft. No skiing, no snowman building, no snowball fights! Continue reading “February snow in Sweden 2009”

A diamond and sapphire feather brooch / pendant

A diamond and natural sapphire brooch and pendant.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2009

A diamond and sapphire brooch and pendant, set in 18k white gold in the form of two touching feathers for that scarf in place or against a single toned sheath dress. The natural blue 4.05 cts sapphire is individually selected for optimum color, clarity and cut for its size and to be worn indoors where even in minimal light. The brooch/pendant is created with a total of 1.4 cts pavé set brilliant cut diamonds.

Width (at widest point): ca. 2.5 cm

All pictures are taken in natural daylight against a linen backdrop.

The spirit of Sue Wong

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro in Sue Wong

A brown beaded halter-neck evening dress by Sue Wong.
Model: Cheryl Marie Cordeiro. Photo by Geoffrey Pereira.

A surefire way to kick off a glamorous evening is by picking the right dress. This slinky number by Sue Wong and her inspirations – Garbo, Dietrich, Lombard – certainly fulfills her desire to bring glamour and romance to the modern woman.

Sue Wong began designing under her own name in 1985 and in 1999, her Nocturne label, which showcases elegant evening wear (and is one of my favourite labels to have for evening wear) became an immediate success. Intricately beaded, soft on the body and one that offers a stunning silhouette to the wearer, are her signature traits in evening wear.

Miss Universe 1999 pageant in Trinidad and Tobago – 6th from the 6th TAG

Miss Bolivia Universe, Susana Barrientos Roig in her National Costume for the international Miss Universe 1999 pageant held in Trinidad and Tobago. Her home town is Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

I had a tag from Chey of Stilettoed Praline to pick out the 6th picture from the 6th folder of my photo albums folder and write a story about it.
Continue reading “Miss Universe 1999 pageant in Trinidad and Tobago – 6th from the 6th TAG”

A Chanel diamond quilt bag in dark blue

A Chanel flap bag in dark blue

Back at work, a pencil dress in deep purple from Mango (MNG) with a Chanel Classic Flap bag with diamond quilting.
Photo: Geoffrey Pereira.

These Chanel classics are quite comfortable in size. The slimmer, sleeker versions are perfect for evenings out and the larger sizes are great for office wear, allowing for A4 documents.

For office wear, I’m favouring pencil skirts and stream lined pencil dresses. This Mango (MNG) rendition is in a deep royal purple with capped sleeves and a skinny belt at the waist.

For more designer handbags such as this Chanel, Gucci, Tod’s, Prada and this Bottega Veneta clutch as pictured above, please contact Jaimie Lim.

A perfect everyday tote from Tod’s

A handcrafted pebbled leather tote by Tod’s, in white. Photo: Geoffrey Pereira.

For those who love quality made products, but dislike designer goods with too many monogrammed logos (most often Louis Vuitton and some Gucci items), Tod’s with their philosophy of sophisticated and elegant luxury goods might be a brand whose products you could explore.

This white pebbled leather tote from Tod’s for example is crisp and clean in its design lines, complementing most work day outfits. The craftsmanship on this bag is impeccable and the leather is weighted though not so heavy that you’ll find it cumbersome to carry.

The allure of this bag is in its timeless simplicity, where less is often more when it comes to what is fashionable through the ages. It has just two silver hardware hoop-latch buckles on either side of the bag for opening and closing, and it can easily hold a 12 to 13 inch sized laptop together with A4 sized documents.

The rolled handles ensure a comfortable fit to the shoulders and you won’t find the weight of the bag slicing through your blouse or jacket when carrying the bag.

For more designer handbags such as Chanel, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Prada and this Tod’s tote as pictured above in white or sand colour, please contact Jaimie Lim.

Coloured gemstones, adding lustre to any dress

A natural ametrine (amethyst and citrine combined), weighing 42.75 carats, set in 18k white gold and diamonds.
Jewellery design: Cheryl Marie Cordeiro. Photo: Kevin D. Cordeiro.

In keeping with most Asian traditions, where gold is given to a newborn as a form of savings they could wear, I was introduced to yellow gold jewellery, mostly given as gifts, at a very young age of about five or six years old. Since I couldn’t wear jewellery to school, the tradition was that I bounced around in rounded gold ear studs and slim gold bangles during the festive seasons of Christmas and New Year’s. As a young girl, I loved the melodious tinkering of the bangles that went with my every movement.

What began as the traditional festive wear of jewellery when I was younger, has today blossomed into a love and passion for well-crafted fine jewellery. These days, I find myself unable to resist the glitter of fine jewellery with large coloured gemstones, and try to keep a small collection that can match the clothes in my wardrobe.

Duo-toned ametrine. Basket setting in white gold ring.
Jewellery design: Cheryl Marie Cordeiro. Photo: Kevin D. Cordeiro.

Sourcing my own stones is part of the delight in jewellery making and collecting, where I sometimes meet with the gemstone cutters in person to be able to pick out the most alluring stones. Coloured gemstones are not very expensive in themselves, so a lot of a stone’s quality comes from its cut, polish and finish. This duo-toned ametrine I fell in love with the instant I saw it and was happy to ask my favorite jewellers to set it in a fitting ring of my own design.

Side profile snapshot of the stone and the ring setting. The stone caught and reflected brilliantly, the morning sunlight streaming in through the windshield of our car.
Jewellery design: Cheryl Marie Cordeiro. Photo: Kevin D. Cordeiro.

The ametrine sits in a basket setting with four prongs, one prong to each corner of the stone. It has a single fleur-de-lis on either side of the ring, created with 3 marquise shaped diamonds to each flower. Brilliant cut diamonds run halfway down either side of the shank of the ring.

Depending on the light and the angle, the stone goes from a crisp golden yellow to a deep grape purple. Yummy.

Bottega Veneta for a night out

For an evening out: a Sue Wong silk beaded gown with a Bottega Veneta clutch bag. Photo: Geoffrey Pereira.

I first fell in love with Bottega Veneta bags in Italy, whilst shopping. The leather is buttery soft and the construction of their bags are neat, clean and smart, with no fuss buckles or closures on the surface to mar the design of the bag. Most of the intrecciatos come with a magnetized closure sewn into the bag, under the leather. The result is a refined and fumble free evening when carrying the bag.

This particular hand-woven intrecciato bag is a work of art that complements most occasions. The handles can be detached to form an elegant evening clutch for that special night out.

For more designer handbags such as Chanel, Gucci, Tod’s, Prada and this Bottega Veneta clutch as pictured above, please contact Jaimie Lim.

Chanel Allure eau de parfum

Rojjana Petkanha for Chanel Allure.

I’ve always loved Chanel fragrances as they never seem to tire through the day.

Launched in 1996, Chanel Allure is a sophisticated mix of Oriental florals like Bergamot, Mandarin, Water Lily, Magnolia and Jasmine. Its complexity as a scent and its intrigue increases when a hint of Rose begins to come forth as the scent settles. It’s sensuously subtle vanilla base notes appears after the scent matures on the skin.

Depending on skin chemistry, I find Chanel Allure a parfum that can bring you from day to night. The lighter, young sophisticate beats of Allure compliments most occasions, in comparison to Allure Sensuelle, which is perhaps more suitable for the dark winter nights. The light powdery scents of Allure also brings me home to days when I was a child, laying snug and cozy under newly washed comforters.

Getting to love the seasons

Under an ivory BCBG Max Azria mid-length puffa jacket.

After several years in Sweden, I’m beginning to understand the seasons, and I’m loving them!

Puffa jackets come in a variety of designs, where belted down jackets are seen most on the streets these days.

My favourite jacket to combat the nordic cold is this ivory down puffa jacket from BCBG Max Azria. It wraps around you like a warm blanket and you can look forward to some winter white, easy.

The silk scarf as accessory

A 1960s classic way to wear the scarf on the head, as Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Queen Elizabeth II, Gina Lollobrigida etc. wore it.

I was introduced to the scarf (actually, a cotton bandanna) in my teens when I received one as a gift. I used it the most fashionable way possible then, like all my other girlfriends and that was to tie it around the ponytail. When meeting up with girlfriends, we’d say, “Turn around! Let me see!” and then it’ll either be “Wah! Pretty!” or “Oh.” meaning, it wasn’t such a rave review for the bandanna. We also wore bandannas around our necks cowboy style, a style I prefer not to don these days.

I’ve had the opportunity to collect many bandannas and scarfs of all types of materials over the years and I find the silk scarf to be one of the most versatile of pieces. The gossamer soft and sleek material allows for varied styles and uses, whether over the head, shoulders, waist or tied to a bag.
Continue reading “The silk scarf as accessory”

Suede luxe to Fall

Pedro Garcia Xaide suede boots.

One of my favourite items to autumn is a beautiful pair of suede leather boots. With current trends, suede boots are found in all sorts of variations. A soft brushed leather that comes usually from the underside of lambskin, though these days, other types of skins are used such as goat, pig, calf and deer, the open pores of this leather means that it isn’t much waterproof or stain-proof. Still, the plush feel of suede boots is attractive and its suppleness allows for a relaxed though luxurious feel for the autumn.

Above are my current favourite suede boots from Pedro Garcia. I like the ruching details, platform front and sleek stiletto heels. The lighter colour is also a relief from the darker shades to be encountered in autumn / winter seasons.
Continue reading “Suede luxe to Fall”

Judith Leiber minaudières and evening bags

Fluted by Judith Leiber. This gold minaudiere or evening bag is decorated with Austrian crystals. It has a detachable chain strap and push down snap closure.

What inspires me are people who believe in themselves and who work in unending devotion to build and live their dream. Such ambitions as seen in Coco Chanel, Louis Vuitton and modern inspirations such as Tyra Banks and Donald Trump, often also produce unrivaled distinction in their work.

Judith Leiber and her work is one such inspiration of mine. Born in 1921, she began her own business and line of handbags in 1963 (retired in 1998). It isn’t only her exotic designs that are eye-catching as works of art (now found in renowned museums such as the Smithsonian in Washington, the V&A in London and the Met Museum in New York City), but her acute detail to attention and quality.

Evenings bags by Judith Leiber, made in exotic skins in basic wardrobe colours. Mini Twilight, a soft frosted python bag that is both a clutch and a shoulder bag. Red Shimmer, made of crocodile with magnetic flap closure and Austrian crystal trim. Grace, a black coloured bag in crocodile.

These days, Judith Leiber the label, carries more than bags, with eyewear, fine jewellery and crystal miniatures such as pill boxes. The items are sold in exclusive boutiques around the world and in the USA, there are just about five outlets in total, in Atlanta, Las Vegas (2 locations), Orange County, and New York City.

The current exclusive stunner from Leiber is this Precious Rose, handcrafted in the USA:

This minaudiére is crafted in 18k white gold with 42.56 carats of diamonds and approximately the same amount of pink sapphires.

Judith’s husband, Gerson Leiber is also an accomplished artist and a selection of both their works can be found at The Leiber Collection, at the Leiber Museum.

The wooden heel: a summer staple


Fall in love this summer with a pair of green tooled leather clogs
with a hidden platform, by Gianmarco Lorenzi.

The high heel that helps elongate the female silhouette is not without its price, as ABC News reported in 2006. And while we may know this to be true with some experiencing knee and ankle injuries, the high heel as a fashion accessory is still loved by many, helping bring out the femme fatale in us.

The heel however, wasn’t all too sexy or “femme fatale” in its beginnings as demonstrated by this pair of 17th century Venetian Chopines by the Met Museum. Continue reading “The wooden heel: a summer staple”

A little bit of Southeast-Asia in Scandinavia


Having a morning cuppa in a light blue Terengganu, Malaysian made sarong.

The sarong as a garment is part of Singapore’s fashion heritage, where most ethnic groups in Singapore (the Malays, the Peranakans and the Indians) have in their basic wardrobe, a form of the sarong. Although sarongs are made in China, Japan and in Africa, the batik sarong in particular is intricately linked to Southeast-Asia and it has been a part of my wardrobe since I was a little girl.

Sarongs can be worn in a variety of ways, the most common would be to wear it tied around under the arms, as I have done in the picture above, or tied around the waist. The batik sarong is opaque in material, usually cotton but sometimes silk or linen and when tied around the waist, it can be coupled with a regular t-shirt (for home wear purposes) or with a hand-embroidered Nonya kebaya (for festive occasions).
Continue reading “A little bit of Southeast-Asia in Scandinavia”