Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I'm not going to lie- it's pretty thrilling having a close friend who regularly gets scouted by modeling agencies just by walking down the street.

Boys and girls, meet the lovely Tina.

It's been a pleasure getting to know the effortlessly fresh-faced Russian native who's as passionate about finance and economics as she is about hitting up the trendiest clubs in London. From her ultra-girly Dolce & Gabbana charm bracelet to her classic Burberry trench, Tina is all about luxe designer items. While this design aesthetic is somewhat different from my own everyday look, it most definitely fits her model persona and I can't imagine her wardrobe being constructed of anything less.

Piccadilly Circus Tube Station
10 September 2009

Graciously, she agreed to pose for the blog before our first night out together (which was obviously a monumental occasion). The entire outfit is framed around the tough Andrew Marc motorcycle jacket which is the most statement-making piece by far. It plays up the mellow BCBG top and fun striped skirt by Pleasure Doing Business, ultimately giving off the ever-popular tone of downtown rocker chic mixed with a hint of feminine simplicity. Her tan Jeffrey Campbell platforms complete the look by personifying the utmost of innovative design choices; while the rest of the world typically sports a variation of the cage shoe for a night out, Tina takes a different approach and honors the idea that in fashion, safe is bad and risks are good.

I'm always looking for inspiration to step outside my box, and Tina is one of those sources. Thank you, my fab gluten-free model friend (and if you're reading this, let's please get Thai food soon).

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Authentic Esoteric Performance

I'm so excited that I'll get right to the point: this post is dedicated to New Year's Eve. Whether I was watching the ball drop from my grandparents' townhouse in Queens or more recently, painting the town red with my best friends, I've been spending New Year's in New York as long as I can remember. There's just something wonderful about being in the City on New Year's that seemingly can't be replicated anywhere else.

Following up with this theory, I've always done my very best to personify the need to respect the holiday and all the fabulous dressing it entails. Last year's ensemble showcased my characteristic balance of high and low labels (a black Old Navy shift dress, deep purple Target tights and Tory Burch heels); this year's selections come straight from Topshop, another quintessential Londontown staple.

Velvet Embellished Dress, £45

Knitted Shoulder Pad Dress, £45

Metallic Tulip Dress by Rare, £49

Lace 1-Shoulder Dress by Rare, £29

Scanning my selections for less than ten seconds, I can already envision my style philosophy evolving. Undoubtedly, being in London has had a genuine impact on my wardrobe decisions, but the reality of it hasn't quite hit me until just about now. I so enjoy the simple color schemes and subtle sophistication of my above four selections. Put any of these dresses together with a stunning pair of cage shoes, a practical carry-all clutch and a glass of champagne and I'll be set for the very first night of the rest of my life, or in this case, 2010. Close enough.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Style Bubble

Having already spent a few months here in London, it seems almost disrespectful (not to mention ridiculous) that I've gone this long without dedicating a post to the fabulous Susie Bubble. What makes the lady of the Style Bubble so utterly respectable to those belonging to the esoteric world of fashion?

Style Bubble
8 November 2009
Perhaps it's her endless innovation that can be readily seen in every single outfit she constructs, or the fearless way in which she approaches...well, pretty much everything. Honestly, who else could successfully put together a cohesive outfit consisting of "no patterns, no prints and at least TEN colours"? Referring to Susie's recent Sunday post, I was constantly wowed by her ability to establish layer upon layer of popping colors (13 to be exact), completing the look with several belts, scallion-green tights and the perfect pair of waffle-knit gloves.

Style Bubble
17 October 2009
When looking toward other fashionistas as sources of inspiration, Susie Bubble definitely tops my list. Not only is she a creative genius, but she explains her heritage as "British-born Chinese by way of Hong Kong," which makes me love her even more. Susie Bubble: brilliant and bad ass. In essence, a style icon to us all.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Choo Choo: Jimmy Choo >> H&M

A sailboat, a vacation, a nice car. Now, these are typical things fifth-graders would spend their first paycheck on. I, on the other hand, had a different vision. I imagined myself spending my first paycheck on a fabulous pair of Jimmy Choo heels.

That's why I'm ecstatic to report that one of my favorites, Swedish retail giant H&M, has teamed up with the luxury British label to create a highly-anticipated collection for Fall/Winter 2009. The line, which will be available in 200 selected stores around the world, encompasses both women's and men's pieces that personify the Jimmy Choo brand image while also maintaining the inclusiveness of H&M's high street store philosophy.

I will admit, I was as skeptical as I was intrigued when I first encountered the fashionably-loud Jimmy Choo/H&M ads that took over the Victoria tube station, given other designer/discount store flops such as Alice & Olivia for Payless ShoeSouce (Ew?) or Vera Wang for Kohl's. Whether or not it's about the downright inconsistency of such strategic alliances, something instinctive always tends to tell me that designer looks for cheap prices is just too good to be true. The difference with this particular match up, however, is that H&M historically has personified high-fashion items without compromising quality or value provided to consumers. Looks like we'll just have to see what unfolds after I take a little trip to Oxford Street!

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Making fashion history

Today's big news comes straight from my new favorite blog, appropriately titled The Business of Fashion. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves. As of today, Vogue has agreed to a partnership with the British Fashion Council to launch an awe-inspiring £200,000 fund directed solely at supporting young British design talent. As with its US counterpart, the Vogue Fashion Fund will encompass all types of necessary financial assistance for qualified designers as well as personal guidance on business practices.

The highly-revered Alexandra Shulman recently divulged, "Vogue's role in supporting young designers is incredibly important because the international fashion industry looks to us to bring young British designers to its attention and to endorse those who we consider talented. This fund means that Vogue can get involved on a practical level."

Georgia Jagger on the November 2009 cover of Vogue
photographed by Mario Testino

Talk about inspiring.

Coming from the girl whose passion for the fashion industry has always been overlooked as an overzealous obsession with her wardrobe, this bit of news gives me hope that our society can start to appreciate fashion for all the tings it truly is- a business, an esoteric art and a vocation.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

An American brand in London

Question: How much do I love Ralph Lauren Rugby? Whenever I receive a periodic e-mail here or there about styling events and  new outfit concepts, my heart skips a beat. There's a lot about the States that I miss, but one of them is walking into the Rugby store in Georgetown and being completely engrossed in their window displays and mesmerized by the outfits arranged proudly on the forms.

Here is a simple yet statement-making outfit constructed from Rugby's current website offerings. Browsing through their pages upon pages of quality merchandise, I made a vow to step outside my box, mix prints and patterns, wear boyfriend jeans with heels and go crazy with the layers. Risk is what makes it fun, as long as balance is maintained, of course.

Little Boy Polo Jacket, $298

Suede Patch Flannel Workshirt, $89.50

Boyfriend Denim Jean, $150

Skull Heritage Crest Belt, $98

This is a breezy, perfect-for-a-Saturday-afternoon outfit, complete with a strong-buckled belt that can hold its own in terms of bringing the entire outfit together. Undoubtedly, my favorite piece is the Little Boy Blazer, while the flannel arguably has the most personality. The playfulness of the shirt and jeans are toned down a great amount by the fitted blazer, which gives it the perfect amount of feminine charm to two otherwise androgynous items. The cuffed denim hem ensures that this outfit is not overly stuffy, as it still gives off an ultimately fun vibe. This outfit is the perfect transition piece to bridge a strong sense of American pride and the guidelines of British Fall fashion.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Style icon

Since when did TV presenters become fashion It Girls? Jameela Jamil, the co-host of London's Freshly Squeezed morning show and T4 weekend program needs not prove herself further, as her innovative wardrobe has been receiving massive amounts of positive attention. The former model is undoubtedly striking with her coveted full-fringe hairstyle and trademark pouty red lip stain, but her natural beauty alone is only icing on the cake.

 Jameela Jamil at the UK premiere of Bruno
The Empire, Leceister Square 
16 June 2009

My favorite of Jameela's looks is structured around a metallic blazer over a black skirt or dress and chunky black heels, a mix of androgynous and feminine when disputing the fabric, construction and fit of the outfit as a whole. Returning to the concept I always find myself harping on, it's all about balance.

Jameela Jamil is a testament to my theory that there really is something extra about the aura British celebrities give off. Maybe it lies in the accent or the confidence harvested from living in a global fashion capital.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Growing up, I always wondered if my older Chinese cousins knew just how cool they were for sporting beautiful jade bracelets or gorgeous pendant necklaces. No, these cultural pieces haven't become the latest fashion accessory, but the jade color concept has most definitely caught on in Europe. As somewhat of a brand extension of the mint-green hue, Chanel has introduced a new shade of nail varnish for Fall called Jade. Already out of stock on Chanel's website, the color was unleashed on Chanel's Paris runway only a few weeks ago.

Chanel Le Vernis in Jade (407), $25 / £19

Jade at Chanel A/W 2009 Catwalk Collection

Garnering high-profile fans like Rachel Bilson and Alexa Chung, the color is already making its rounds in the big cities and as any successful trend, has been spreading like wildfire. Drew Barrymore, in attendance of the Toronto Film Festival, had her nails painted minty green to celebrate the promotion of Whip It, her first-ever credit as a director. In observing their looks, the stars have been bold enough to try out this new color concept while keeping it classy by playing down the rest of their outfits (typically a variation on the ever-popular LBD) and keeping makeup to a tasteful yet statement-making minimum.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

We love locals

If you're at all familiar with London, you'll surely be able to relate to my appreciation for the bustling Camden Markets which are located fortunately a mere fifteen minutes from my house. It was there where I was introduced to the lovely Sharon, Lauren and Ellie, venturing a few tube stops up the northern line to Camden Town from the city. They divulged to me, as many Londoners would, that the Oxford Circus Topshop was by far their favorite place to shop, and that if I was looking for a locals-only place to scope out other fashion-minded individuals, Shoreditch was the place to go.

Sharon, Lauren and Ellie
Camden Markets
29 August 2009

I'm a fan of all three outfits; the three girls' individual looks tend to complement each others' rather well. Key items for London fall are portrayed fabulously well here- the long-strand mini purse, the loose denim button-up top (here worn as a dress) and the navy schoolboy blazer with gold embellished buttons. Conceptually, these girls know exactly what they're doing and it is this uncanny British composure that makes me want to learn more about what Londoners frame their outfits around. Looks like the marketplace is an incubator for creativity, not just the fabulous finds themselves.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Never disappointing: Vince >> shopbop

Minimalism, clean lines and a monochromatic palette. As yawn-inducing as these words may seem, we all know how well Vince brings these concepts to life by personifying contemporary yet classic sophistication. Providing that happy medium between casual weekend basics and refined workwear, I've always revered the subtle dramatics of Vince's slouchy sweaters, classic shift dresses and perfectly fitted pants, perhaps because I'm a die-hard fan of fall weather clothing. In my opinion, what could be better than layers upon layers of single pieces brought together to marry themselves as a single brilliant outfit? Think balance: a cozy charcoal tie-front sweater dress draped over a heather grey long-sleeve knit top tucked into a nubby herringbone miniskirt with violet tights and Frye boots. Top heavy, yet bottom simple.

Yes, I'm afraid I've gone off on a tangent about my passionate love for fall fashion, but I'll spare you and bring you back to my original point- Vince. While Vince is clearly not the most controversial design aesthetic out there, mixing simple Vince pieces with more risky items can always ensure an outfit that flows and just makes sense.

The Vince Fall 2009 line presented for shopbop fails to disappoint. Here are a few of my favorite London-inspired looks that make me want to conceptualize outfits for the well-dressed locals I've observed wandering Kensington High Street.

Sequined Mini Dress, $225

Motorcycle Leather Jacket, $750

Stella Cable Cardigan, $325

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Still Esoteric

"Villedela Goes to London." The title is self-explanatory: Villedela is back, this time exploring and interpreting London fashion one fitted schoolboy blazer at a time. Get familiar with Villedela's UK counterpart because in all honesty, American style can't even begin to compete with what London has to offer. Risk, concept and innovation- it's all here. Enjoy.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.