Tuesday, October 30, 2007

for my amusement

After many nights of bleary-eyed exhaustion from watching the Sox WIN BIG at the World Series, I can finally enjoy my other past-times: music, movies, and books! I don't have anything new or exciting to announce, but wanted to share with you my recent purchases.

Wal-mart has a Blu-ray bundle deal right now to get 2 DVDs for only $25, which is pretty cheap! My brother bought me "Chicago," but there were two more that I wanted, so I ordered them yesterday.

I can barely remember what actually happened in either "Casanova" or "King Arthur," but I do recall liking them, so I don't mind forking out a little money to see them in all their full digital glory. At the end of the day, one is a comedic love story, the other an action-packed love story, so I must be in a sappy mood. Who doesn't love a love story, especially when the people are all so pretty to watch?

I'd mentioned in one of my entries that I'm slightly obsessed with Matthew MacFadyen (Mr. Darcy!!!). I'm such a huge fan I even went off to London to see him in a play (courtesy of my honey, who took me there for my bday over the summer), and had my pic taken with him, as well as get my copy of the play signed! Anyhow, I haven't bought much of his work, save for the first 3 seasons of BBC's "Spooks" ("MI-5" in the US) and of course, "Pride & Prejudice," but I always intended to collect his work. I finally caved and bought some random stuff from Amazon UK, items I can't get in the US.

I guess some years ago, before MM started to do films, he, along with some other Brits, worked on a project where they read famous poems, which you can watch on DVD or listen to on CD. Yes, sounds mindlessly boring, but for me, one of the reasons I'm a fan is his voice! He has this deep, booming voice, which is just so sexy, and perfect for narrating. So what do I buy? Both the DVD, the CD, and even an audio book narrated by MM. Yes, I'm a little crazy. But at least with the CDs, I can listen to them during my very long commute to work.

I also bought Naoki Honjo's "Small Planet" book. I couldn't see his London exhibit, but at least I can enjoy the book.

Yes, the nesting period is beginning, so all of this will keep me quite busy and amused.

Casanova and King Arthur DVDs - $25 (special Blu-ray bundle)

Essential Poem (To Fall In Love With) With Daisy Goodwin DVD- £8.98

Essential Poem (To Fall In Love With) With Daisy Goodwin Audio CD- £12.99

Stories We Could Tell, by Tony Parson Audio CD - £7.33

Naoki Honjo: Small Planet, by Masahiko Sato - £21.50

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

a bag for your bubbly

While I have not been very impressed with Alice Temperley's line at Target, she maintains her luxury status by continuing to collaborate with other high-end brands, and at least this time, the creation is both functional and whimsical. In Temperley's second collaboration with Moët & Chandon (she designed a limited-edition tiara for M&C last year), this time around, she has designed a bespoke bag specifically for the champagne company.

As Moët & Chandon is a part of the LVMH world, it only makes sense that for this weekend/picnic bag, Temperley was inspired by "the grand wardrobes and bespoke travel trunks created by the master malletier Louis Vuitton during the second half of the nineteenth century" to get this look. I'm not sure I buy that. Can you feel any of LV's heritage in this bag at all? The metallic canvas borders on cheapola ghetto-fabulous, and the pyramid studs are SO yesterday. If anything, the most adorable thing going for the bag is the detachable champagne carrier. Of course, when I travel, I MUST be able to tote my bubbly with me. It's the gospel! What, don't believe me? Alas, I don't know if this is ingenious or ridiculous.

Anyhow, if you see something exquisite in this bag that I just don't see, and you're in London, head to any of AT's stores to get your own weekend bubbly toter. Yup, the bag is only available in London.

Alice Temperley Bespoke Bag - £950 - available at Temperley London stores since Sep. 1

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Buy for the Environment

More and more, everywhere around us, we are reminded how precious and unpredictable the weather and climates can be, all because of the damage we have done as mankind to the environment. Between the wildfires in California, the book that I'm currently reading, which talks about how quickly nature would reclaim the land if humans just disappeared one day, and my absolute decision to purchase a Toyota Prius as my next vehicle (nope, no Honda CR-V after all!), I know that suddenly, anything we can do to help the environment is not just something trendy to do, but something that ABSOLUTELY must be done.

If you're not a hands-on kind of person, and maybe you don't feel green just yet, but don't mind exploring ways to help without getting your hands dirty, there is ~still~ a way to help. Buy something! While Confucius would say "if you want to save the planet, stop buying more stuff, you are creating more pollution and crap that will take forever to biodegrade," the corporations like to gloss over that minor note and have you focus on the big picture, which means releasing one-of-a-kind items on eBay, and making sure proceeds from the auctions go towards the environment. Not fundamentally the savviest or logical way to do, but I suppose it's better than nothing, especially if they're already in the midst of producing these items anyhow.
Club 21 has chosen to support the protection of the environment — a global and urgent issue — in commemorating its 35th anniversary. Proceeds from the auctions will benefit charities supporting this cause in nine countries where Club 21 has a presence: Wildlife Warriors Worldwide (Australia), Friends of the Earth (Hong Kong), Kehati (Indonesia), The Malaysian Nature Society (Malaysia), The Singapore Environment Council (Singapore), The Homemaker’s Union and Foundation (Taiwan), The Thailand Environment Foundation (Thailand), Fields in Trust (United Kingdom), Rainforest Foundation (United States), and Planet A|X formed by Armani Exchange (United States).
Club 21 is a luxury retailer originally based out of Singapore, and while I have never heard of them, I'm sure that as a marketing move, this will give them very good global exposure. While the items currently posted on eBay are nice, they don't seem stellar enough to garner some of the bids that people have put up, but I suppose if it's for a good cause, there shouldn't be any guilt, right?

I like this Calvin Klein ostrich duffel, but something about it also makes zero sense to me, 'cause if I truly needed to use a duffel, it's almost guaranteed that that bag will be abused and tossed around, and I don't think ostrich skin was designed for that. Perhaps this was designed for a classier jet-setter than I.

This latex bag from Marni is also super cute. It has both a raw sexiness and a subtle femininity to the design. This item seems to be the most popular, as it currently has the highest bid in terms of dollars.

And while the clothes up for sale aren't really wowing me, I dare say, if I had the cash, I would love this black glass vase from Armani. Pure sophistication. Who doesn't love a glossy black orb on display in their living room, and signed by Mr. Armani himself?

This auction is only phase I. There will be a phase II on Nov. 4th. So if nothing entices you now, just save your pennies for the next round. After all, it's for the environment. You're a hero if you buy! :)

ck Calvin Klein Ostrich Skin Duffel Bag - currently at $710

Marni Leather and Latex Handbag - currently at $1,225

Armani/Casa Timbuktu Glass Vase - currently at $810

Club 21 Auction Catalog - Auction 1 starting Oct. 18, Auction 2 starting Nov. 4

Club 21 eBay Store

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sporty Fashionista...

Hope you haven't missed me much (hah!), because I haven't posted in a while, but since I started this blog to discuss items I've bought or want to buy, and I haven't desired anything in the last few days, there wasn't much to write about. As I'm in the midst of job hunting, I do believe I will reward myself with a very nice gift once I find that special job with (hopefully) a larger salary. For now, even pining for something is not really optional.

Anyhow, if you're in Boston like I am, we're all obsessed with more important things these days, such as sports. Yes!, yesterday was really a big day for us, what with the big wins by the Pats and the Sox going to the World Series!!! I can't rattle off stats or really tell the players apart, except for hunky Brady (melt), but I can appreciate a good game when I see one, so it made for an exciting Sunday to have all the guys come through for us, keeping me company on the tube while I wafted through the mess that is my room, and trying to organize between touchdowns and homeruns.

The really great thing I love about sports in our little city is the camaraderie and team spirit that oozes out unconditionally. And there is no other way to support your fave teams than to wear the team colors, or even better, actually sport the official gear.

It's been a long time coming that female fans actually had something special designed for them, instead of wearing their bf's oversized jerseys or having to cut apart t-shirts just to look a little cuter. There are now many choices for the stylish sport connoiseur, although there are some that I frankly have to question. I am NOT about the items that just have logos slapped on them. The product really needs to be about the design, team colors, and style that is unique to the person wearing it.

My only rule is NO pink! I myself am guilty of owning a pink, baby blue, even a coral baseball cap for these two teams, but I think if you're going to show up and watch the game in person, there is NO reason you can't wear the team's colors. The NE Patriots are blue, silver, and if you'd like, red. The Sox are plainly red, and if you'd like, navy blue. That's it. I seriously don't know where the pink came from, except that someone in marketing thought that this would be a REALLY good idea to fill that female niche sorely needed from clothing revenue. I think it was a good intro., but now there are really quality designs for the woman, so ladies, PLEASE steer clear of the pink if you are going to the game. Wear the team colors. You'll look like an actual fan~!

These are my top picks for the coolest Pats and Sox pieces for the woman with style.

New England Patriots:

I love this jacket only because I think it's so appropriate for the weather out here. Rain or snow, esp. since football season heads right through winter, this is an essential piece that will keep you warm and looking hot.

Underneath the jacket, only a cute little t-shirt will do. I think this is such a cute design based on the official jersey. If only they can create this shirt with your fave players' name and number on it. I think that would make it even more perfect.

To cap it all off (please excuse the pun), is this very feminine, but color appropriate satin cap. It's a little on the blinging side, but surprisingly, I like it! It's a great look worn with the coat when it's converted to a vest (for those warmer days). I like that with this red, you can even wear it to a Sox game! (I'm all for the mantra that one item can come with many uses.)

While the NFL has some really cute pieces, you definitely can't deny that the MLB also saw potential in designing for the ladies. They not only saw an opportunity there, they had Alyssa Milano design and model the stuff. I can't disagree that if she really did design these pieces, she did good. My top picks below.

Boston Red Sox:

This is such a cute sweater. Very sexy, too, but the team spirit is undeniable here!

I love this red top. It's another sexy piece, but can be layered under the argyle sweater above, or worn alone. Adorable, and it looks comfy, too!

This is another cute piece. I think it would look great to have all three of these pieces layered together, frankly. And if you need a cap, really, wear the red Pats satin cap. Until the Sox have their own red satin cap, I don't see this as a faux pas.

I might have some shopping to do after all...

New England Patriots Ladies 4-in-1 Coat - $89.95

New England Patriots Ladies VF Active Roster Shirt - $44.95

New England Patriots Ladies Satin Cap-Red - $19.95

Boston Red Sox Women's Argyle Top "touch"™ by Alyssa Milano - $39.99

Boston Red Sox Women's Burnout V-Neck Tie Top "touch"™ by Alyssa Milano - $54.99

Boston Red Sox Women's Ruffle Full Zip Hoody "touch"™ by Alyssa Milano - $59.99

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

UPDATE: Murakami Exhibit in LA's MOCA

More info. has been leaking out about the bags. I first spotted this bag on this blog, but it's now confirmed that this will be one of the pieces sold at Murakami's exhibit.

Also, according to November's Elle magazine, the character on the diary is called Chibi Kinoko, which means "little mushroom."

A girlfriend and I are attending a bachelorette party in Vegas in early Jan., so we're ~thinking~ of making a pit stop to LA right after for a couple of days, so ~maybe~ I will get a chance to see the exhibit and get my hands on these goodies. What do you think? Is it worth the plane ticket?!?


I just wrote recently about how difficult it is for me to pay attention to TV advertising, what with all the clutter and distractions around me, but another one quickly caught my attention, and once again, it's really because of the song.

I love this song! It's so quirky. And cute. And fun. And hard to sing along. I will def. look into getting the album. It's by a British band called Ben's Brother, and the song is called "Stuttering." Check out the ad that caught my attention, and the full song, too!

Ben's Brother

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

If you could only have one bag...

...what would it be? How hard would it be to let go of your entire collection and only hold onto one sad, lonely, but gorgeous piece?

I've been thinking about that every since I finished reading "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster." I know I've referenced this book many times (the author should really thank me!), but if I had to summarize the entire book in one sentence, it would be "The conglomerates *cough* Louis Vuitton *cough* are evil, but buy Hermès and Chanel, they are the real prince and princess of Luxury Land." Ironically, I own neither, so now I'm re-thinking my whole purchasing process. Have I been doing this all wrong? Why not use that consumer power for something truly refined instead of mass-produced?

My answer to my own question would be the Hermès Birkin. Hands down, this is one of the most iconic bags in the world, but it is also classic, made truly by hand, with all natural and wonderful materials, and unique in itself. Dana Thomas' in-depth description of the meticulous process needed to make this bag made my once-elevated LVs fall as quickly as an elevator whose cable has snapped and is hurtling, crashing, into downwards descension. Who has deceived me more than I have deceived myself?

Don't get me wrong. I don't love my LVs any less. But now I must tell myself, should I stop buying completely? Other than trying to satisfy the hoarder in me, why buy so many bags? When did the madness begin, and what makes sense now? Is it the hunt for the bag that exhilirates me? If so, then it was wrong for me to buy, because if I enjoy the hunt more than I can use the bags, there is obviously some deep chasm I need to fill, and bags are not the answer.

If you think I'm going to sell all my bags now, hah!, you are dead wrong. Each bag bears a memory now. It's not that easy to let go, even though I've thought about relinquishing some to the world of eBay. The pink Christian Dior pochette that was so hard to find, but which after I purchased, I never used. Its white leather flowers are still pristine, in all its dainty, milky glory. There is the red patent leather Marc Jacobs hobo that I thought would look so great slung on my back. It wasn't until it arrived in the mail that I found out how ridiculously big it looked on me. Still, the patent leather is one of the most gorgeous materials I've seen on any bag....it was just too big on my frame, so it now sits somewhere, waiting to be cherished. I have even thought of letting go of some of my prized LVs. The cute multicolor pochette that they don't even make anymore. I also have the clutch, which is more in line with my wardrobe, so why keep both? And so the gears in my head turn, wanting to absolve them, but wanting to hold on as well.

I am now on the biggest hunt; for a meticulous, gently used but loved Birkin that won't set me back TOO much. This can be a hunt for years, so maybe I won't buy anymore, because the hunt will keep me at bay. Maybe it's because I'm approaching 30 next year; a more adult, classic bag is calling out to me to replace the girly fantasies that my other bags provided in the past 5 years. Vanity Fair had a lovely article written on the Hermès family, which you should definitely read. They perceive themselves to be truly about the craftsmanship, rathering than the marketing (if you want to believe them), but I think we all can agree that as of the present, they have not sold out just yet. If they can hang onto themselves and not allow the giants of the business world swallow up their "family business," then shouldn't we hold onto our own souls as well? Do you buy because you love it, or just to have it?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hot Bag for the Cold Weather

While I have been in denial that autumn is finally here, I can't deny that fall is also the best time of the year when it comes to accessories. One of my favorite trends this season is the use of patent leather. The shine from the high-gloss treatment luxurizes even the most boring leather.

I wish that I could afford all the exotics that are so hot this season, but mock croc is a nice substitute, provided that the pattern is done with beautiful craftsmanship. This is why I love this purse from Furla. Made of Italian leather, this bag oozes sexiness, and the hefty size of it means you can lug all of your fall accessories, such as gloves, scarves, umbrellas, or anything else that you need to keep warm as winter descends. I love that not only has the leather been embossed, but the designers put enough thought to add pleats to the leather to give it a very interesting texture.

I know I've been gushing about the LV, but I might think twice after seeing this bag. It's easy for me to love the latest "It" bags not because of the hype, but because I get carried away with the newest versions that have been stylized and improved upon. However, I think that this bag has "classic" written all over it, and who doesn't want a nice, glossy bag that can be carried through the seasons?

Furla Frida Large Shopper - Onyx - $645

Life Inside the Music Box

I'm an advertiser's worst nightmare, since I'm definitely one of those multi-taskers who will surf the Net, watch TV, listen to music, read a book, AND play on my PSP all at the same time. It's a wonder that anything can grab my attention, or if I can remember anything I've been doing. Through all the noise, on occasion, some ads do catch my attention.

Take this JC Penney ad. The visuals are absolutely magical and whimsical. Day to day, we all forget what it's like to have a wild imagination. I believe that the success in the creative for this ad is that even as adults, we should be able to experience the fantastic in our every day lives.

In addition to the ad, I LOVE the music. There's a fanciful quality that I can't quite explain, but I adore about this song. Sadly for JCP, I won't be shopping there because of the song, but luckily for the singer, Regina Spektor, I like her voice enough to buy her CD. Take a listen, and let me know what you think. Sometimes, mass-produced albums can be so played out on the radio. Very refreshing to hear, this Ms. Spektor.

JC Penney
Regina Spektor

got my phone!

Got my phone, got my phone, got my phone! I didn't end up with any of the girly styles I thought I was going to get. Instead, I chose the LG Chocolate in Blue Mint. I think it's so pretty! It's more of a music player than a phone, so I need to start uploading some songs on it as soon as I get it. One of the first will HAVE to be the "Across the Universe" soundtrack.

I can't wait to 'til it gets here! I love new gadgets!

LG Chocolate - Blue Mint - $129.99
(with 2-year contract at Verizon Wireless)

yummy yummy

Just wanted to share a pic of the egg tarts I learned to make yesterday. They came out looking pretty AND tasty. Think I can start a bakery now? :)

Thanks to my honey and his family for teaching me how to make this delicious treat!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Across the Universe

I just came back from seeing "Across the Universe," and oh, what an ode to the Beatles, one of my all-time favorite bands. Yes, this movie was a cheesefest, what with the sappy love story, some really ridiculous dance numbers, and not-meant-to-be-funny-but-I-laughed-out-loud moments. Still, I love how the music was incorporated into the storyline, and the actors were all great, especially since they had to sing their own songs, and thank God they didn't butcher any of the classics. Jim Sturgess was very likeable, and it didn't hurt that at a passing glance, he could've passed as Paul McCartney's (my fave Beatle!) doppelgänger .

The theatre I went to kind of sucked when it came to both the screen and the audio. The film was grainy and the sound had some glitches in their speakers, so it kind of ruined the magical aspect of what the movie was meant to do, but this only means that I need to get a copy of the DVD when it comes out.

I am SO getting the soundtrack. (There are two versions, pre-order the deluxe edition to get all the songs!) The covers for all the songs were all really wonderful.

I read that hype for this movie has been slow, and I wish they actually did a little more marketing for it, but DO go see it if you get a chance, it's really a film worth supporting. There were plenty of Beatles references thrown throughout for the rabid fan, but also a lot of humor and quality performances for the movie lover. Throw in the CG effects, and it's eye candy throughout.

Go see it!!! :D

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pretty Brady

This post is for my honey, 'cause he's a HUGE fan of the New England Patriots. While celebrities shilling for fragrances and colognes are a dime a dozen, I HAD to post this because we love Tom Brady, and we're happy that he finally got a sponsorship deal!

It's about time, really. While watching the Pats game last Sunday, we lamented the fact that we see Peyton Manning EVERYWHERE (cocky SOB), but poor Tom never gets anything. All he gets are bad press about his cheating coach, or his relationship woes (child born out of wedlock to an exgf, while dating hot new supermodel gf), etc., etc. But let's face it. He's a talented QB. He's hot. And he's a nice guy. He deserves any money that comes his way. And it appears that someone out there was willing to be that sugar daddy.

Coty Beauty has signed Tommy boy as the face of Stetson Cologne for two and a half years, and the new ads are out! This is a side of him I've never seen. Normally, he's either in his Pats uniform, or nice and clean-cut in a suit. They really went for the whole "I'm-sexy-smell-me-buy-Stetson" look where he's just gazing seductively at the camera (and thinking about how this will help pay for child support). But I digress. I think he looks great. It's the cross between the Marlboro man and an Ambercrombie & Fitch model. Sexy, rugged, innocent, really.

But let's get real. I don't know anyone who actually buys Stetson (do you?!), so is he helping Stetson build up their brand equity, or are they pulling him down? Think he could've done better? Except that this is somewhat of an all-American brand, maybe he could've associated himself with a more luxurious brand? What do you think?

Well, here's to many more sponsorships, Brady! And bring us home another championship!!!

Al Gore Wins Nobel Peace Prize!!!!!

I know that this is supposed to be a forum about the more light-hearted things in life, such as fashion, art, and books, and maybe you really don't care about my political stance, but I can't contain my glee. Al Gore is sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)! Congrats to them all for bringing such wide attention to the effects of global warming and climate change!

His film, "An Inconvenient Truth," really moved me, and I am now more aware of the carbon footprint I leave behind. Even talking with friends, we discussed in what ways we can try to help the environment. As this world is so precious, we really need to do more to preserve it for the future. When there's a heatwave in the middle of October in New England, you know that the world is changing, and not for the better.

Anywho, I've been plotting for several years now to think of a way to contribute, maybe create my own organization to help with the cause. I have this idea, but it hasn't come to a full fruition yet, so in the meanwhile, I will continue to help by doing other little things.

My interest in the environment doesn't lie with just climate change, but the effects of a lot of human manipulation and intervention that affects every step of the ecological chain. This is why I'm currently reading Alan Weisman's "The World Without Us." I want to learn more about how far we've affected the planet, and if we all disappeared, how quickly will Mother Nature take over. It's all about balance in the world, and the work that Gore has done really shows that whatever needs to be done should be done now.

Again, congrats, congrats. I'm so happy!!! (Can you tell I'm a big supporter? :P)

Murderous Shoes

By logic, men should never design women's shoes. Because they will never be the consumer, they allow themselves to create under the pretense of high design, pushing the envelope, if you will, but the results are pure sadism and fetishism. There is zero sympathy for the woman in question.

In the New York Times, they highlighted the impossible shoes that marched across the runways recently. One look at these shoes, and you KNEW that a man designed these. Even for a runway show, yes, fantasy is the norm, but I also think there's some sort of condescension coming from the designer, where they objectify the woman and subject her to painful shoes, which is highly unnecessary.

The one shoe that maddened me the most was one designed by an Antonio Berardi, an Italian-English designer. It is a platform shoe with a non-existent heel! “When you walk, it is almost on tiptoe. You look really dainty.” What is he, smoking crack? Make a REAL shoe, and I'll applaud your efforts. Maybe he secretly wanted to see one of his models wipe out. :P

Some other shoes that made me cringe: Yves Saint Laurent shoes where the bottom of the feet are balanced on thin soles that barely support, and these horrid Alexander McQueen geisha-on-steroids clogs.

After I finished reading Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Fan, I am grateful that we live in a world where feet are not subjected to torture. Set in 19th-century China, one of the more memorable scenes in the book are of the process of foot-binding. I have seen photos online of the foot after it's gone through the process, where the end-result is a "golden lily" foot that is about 3 inches long, the toes hideously curled under the foot. Imagine walking on a stump for most of your life! I don't think I could've beared it.

But how far have we gone when men continue to feed their sexual fantasies by subjecting woman to shoes that are just ludicrous? I know that shoe fetishes exist. An exbf had one, and although he taught me to appreciate the beauty of a fine-quality shoe, there were also those moments where if the shoe doesn't fit, if it hurts, then you stop wearing it. Sorry, my feet are mine, and I won't force them in.

Painful shoes are now a commonality for a lot of women. I'm not even talking about stilettos or platform clunkers. I've had ballet flats pinch me in a spot so hard that at the end of the day, my little toes were numb. I used to be very bold with my choice of footwear, wearing 4-inch heels, or shoes that had funny-looking wedges, even slingbacks that I teetered-tottered on 'cause they looked zexy. But as I've gotten older, sensibility took over. Or maybe my pain tolerance gave way. Whatever it is, I still love a nice shoe, but please, let it not hurt. And will someone please tell that to the guys?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Opals are a Girl's Best Friend

I've loved opals for many years now, and have been searching for the perfect opal ring, but never quite found what I've been looking for. I love the all the crazy colors they come in, from deep turquoise blue, to white with flashes of orange and red, or blacks that eminate purples and golds. No other semi-precious stone astounds me in quite the same way. I dream of owning a big fat opal that I can wear proudly on my forefinger on my right hand. Where are you, my dream ring?!

Opal is widely available, but that's where I think the problem lies. Because the stone can be sliced thin to accomodate many kinds of designs, the stone itself has been devalued over the years, and no one makes NICE opal rings. I don't know the whole history of opals, but it's sad to see how such a beautiful stone gets relegated to some pretty gaudy designs. Whether it be of the dreary mid-western look, ethnocentric native-American styles, or kitschy icons of the beach (dolphins, clamshells, palm trees), it seems like opals are treated like third-class citizens in the world of semi-precious stones, and I really wish that some fantastic jewelry designer will see the potential and create a dream piece of jewelry.

Obviously, this is not a stone that can be polished to sparkle like a diamond. But I see high probability that with the right designs and marketing, this stone can be elevated to first-class status. Look what Mikimoto did for pearls, and Tiffany did for diamonds. These days, Van Cleef & Arpels sells pieces made with onyx, turquoise, and mother-of-pearl by the dozens. Right now, Australia owns the claim to fame for opals, and you can bet that it's not the fashionistas who are buying the pieces, but tourists who want to bring back a reminder of the world Down Under. Usually paired with (boring) sterling silver, opal just hasn't been given too much thought as the ultimate gemstone.

So imagine my delight when I opened up my October issue of Self, and dressed on Sarah Michelle Gellar, was a big, fat, bee-yoo-tiful opal ring. Framed in gold and diamonds, the opal is a wonderful orb that dazzles in multitudes of blue. I so want it! But dare I inquire as to the price? The ring was created by Fred Leighton, so one can imagine how costly this would be, tantamount to anything else designed by FL that would be exquisite but also extraordinarily expensive.

I have emailed them to inquire the cost. Will let you know if I hear back. I know it's not within my price range, but I'm nosy like that! Argh, it's so gorgeous!!!

UPDATE: This beautiful "fine Australian opal and diamond ring" can be had for the grand price of $25,000. ;P* Me want so bad!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Vuitton in Technicolor

It's no secret that bags are the big revenue generator for Louis Vuitton. While the classics bring patrons back, it's the shock value that bring LV free publicity. So for Spring 2008, in what appears to be free reign over the collection despite the bottom-line, Marc Jacobs went ballistic, and in collaboration with artist Richard Prince, devised the most insane line that I've ever seen Jacobs do. They have really pushed the boundaries between commercialism and art.

To start off, the palette was inspired by SpongeBob SquarePants. What you end up with is a very nonsensical but uniform array of neon and acid colors, where some bags appear to have been spray-painted on, others imprinted with text, and in some cases, there is a Warholian effect with the color inverse of the famous LV logos and flowers.

The show itself was a very straight-forward inspiration from Prince's work. Models dressed as nurses were inspired by Prince's Nurse paintings.

The colors of SpongeBob permeate the line of clothing, starting with the bright yellows, melding in with the soft dreamy blues, creams, exploding with the red, and finally, ending with the darks, as if entering the bottom of the ocean. The collection ends with your eyes descending on the myriad of purses that look like they fell out of a rainbow on crack.

Even the self-references on some of the bags made me laugh. It's like the painting on the wall in a museum, and you need to look at the plaque to read the name. So when I look at this bag, not only is it a bag, or that it's an LV bag. You can now call it by it's catalog name. It's really going beyond branding, and re-assessing the identity of the piece. (Think I'm bull-shitting? This is what the art world's all about, my friend.)

The big question is, would you buy it? I think there's something so fundamentally free to be playful and just let all proper wisdom go out the window, and create something really edgy and zany and not be apologetic about it. But beyond "art," can the same view be that this is less about the artist, and more about capitalism at its worst? Now that Jacobs has taken the classic house of Vuitton and turned it upside down, but will charge you double or triple the norm, how do you take this piece of art and not look at it with some sort of distaste, as if the joke isn't so much the humor of taking something so dowdy as the classic monogram and having fun with it, but that the joke's on you 'cause you bought into the hype and mass hysteria for a bag that aesthetically, is, quite honestly, pretty ugly?

How different is the bag below from the Coach Scribble line? Who copied who, since Coach was copying inspired by Murakami's Multicolor Monogram? Why not buy the Coach instead, if "art" is really what you're after? (Yes, I really don't like Coach, which is why I bemoan the fact that you would even compare the two. Coach cannot replace LV!) When do you hit yourself on the back of your head and say that this is all a scam? Do these artists really believe in their work, or do they think that the can keep pushing, and no one can ever push back?

I have no idea which of the actual pieces will be available for sale, but I would love to see it in person. I have read comparisons of this collection to the Murakami collections in the past, but I thoroughly disagree. Murakami's pieces were of a very decisive, simple, direct, feminine, and clean aesthetic. Prince went the opposite. He didn't reign anything in at all, it's in all directions, some pieces still running with the ombre fades that was influenced by Vermeer, others mocked the proper printing of the logo on canvas, and yet others had really bad cartoon art on it. Seriously? Seriously.

If you catch me carrying one, would you call me an art collector or a sucker?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Kanye and Murakami are in love...

Just kidding! But the way these two guys have been gushing over each other in the open media, you would think they've just met their soul mates. I guess if they can't be lovers, they can be co-designers. Kanye West is apparently in collaboration with Takashi Murakami to create a jewelry line.

Kanye wore a proto-type to the Givenchy show in Paris this past week, and he posted some pics on his blog. Squint, huddle towards the screen, and you might be able to make out the giant pendant he's wearing.

If you can't tell what it is, let's just say that based on a sketch Kanye did while on a trip to Murakami's studio in Japan, the collection might be a lot of robots and manga characters.

Apparently, these two kindred spirits began working together when Murakami designed the covers for Kanye's latest album. They no doubt probably also bonded over their LVOE of LV, as Murakami has famously created limited edition designs for the luxury house, and Kanye sings about LV in his hit songs.

In August's Harper's Bazaar, Kanye posed with his fiancée in his office decked out with giant Murakami flower pillows (I so want them!!!), and of course, LV trunks. So you see, these guys have so much in common. No surprise that they are now friends (but not lovers).

I actually loved the line of cartoon pendants Murakami did for LV several years ago, but mind you, they were completely out of my budget, so I could only admire them from behind the glass cabinet in the LV store on 5th Ave. I wonder what the outcome for this collaboration will be, but probably really gaudy bling. Stay tuned!