Posted by: Phat Mama Post(s) by this bloggerI am intrigued by the Viennese Ball and how it has rubbed on to fellow Malaysians.
Like I said in my earlier post, Malaysia’s Viennese Ball is modeled after Austria’s Vienna Opera Ball, celebrated in some of the major cities in the world.
Albeit a scaled down version to the real thing, Malaysia’s Viennese Ball speaks of the pride of Austrians towards their country’s dance culture that dates back to the 18th Century. Some say it goes back to earlier than the 18th century.
In Vienna, the Ball culture is tradition and ever since the celebration was made “free-for-all” by Emperor Joseph II, more groups have come up with their very own Viennese Ball. So it is no surprise if you were to visit Vienna and find all kinds of Balls organized by various professional and non-professional groups.
But a Ball to an Austrian is not just about prestige and being in a crowd of people with social standing. It is also about having a good time in good company, fine Austrian food and wines. Most of all it’s a time to enjoy the pleasure of waltzing with your partner and maybe later do a bit of jive and swing as much as your feet can muster and your body desires.
The Ball culture in Vienna is most definitely about living it up for the night and dressing to the nines, especially for the ladies. Guests to the Ball would actually plan their clothes and matching jewelry months in advance. And in a grander event, ‘who’s wearing what’ on the night will make headlines in the next day’s papers.
Perhaps Malaysia’s version has not really come to that stage yet but if the following grows even bigger by the next couple of years we will perhaps finally see a more delightful selection of full-length ball gowns from the ladies.
The night is about ‘elegance’ so ladies, feel free to dress to the nines at the next 2009 Viennese Ball in Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, take a peek at some of my favourite gowns at the 2008 Viennese Ball held at the Grand Ballroom of Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
Posted by: Phat Mama Post(s) by this bloggerI attended the Viennese Ball for the first time last night and was amazed at the amount of effort the organisers had put into the décor for the event. The Grand Ballroom of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre was decked in roses and white lilies giving guests the impression of having walked right into a huge rose garden instead.
At the Cocktail Lounge, guests’ arrival was met by polite staff who unfailingly greeted anyone and everyone a “good evening”, even the crew members who were busy running up and down doing last minute checks.
This is the second year of the Viennese Ball in Malaysia and as is norm, the event is attended mainly by the cream of society.
The garden of roses comes alive.
A lot of detailed preparations had gone into organising the event such as the presence of the Austrian Ambassade-Orchestra, a fashion showcase by Malaysian fashion designer Melvin Lam and of course the piano rendition by pianist Johann Turek and the ballet performances by Jozef Dolinsky and Raffaela Pegani.
A superb performance for the night.
One of the night’s highlights were the 50 debutante couples specially selected by the organisers to perform the traditional opening ceremony. The girls looked fabulous dressed in their white designer gowns with a small bouquet of red roses each in their hands while the boys were in tuxedos. They did the quadrille under the supervision of co-ordinator and dance master Reinhard Polt.
Part of the 50 debutante couples who helped with the opening launch.
It was not long before the floor was opened to all guests led by Ambassador of Austria Dr Donatus Koeck and his wife Marie. The first stage of dancing looked a little chaotic though as some couples were not aware of the flow causing the more experienced looking a little flustered and dazed after almost knocking into each other. A little co-ordination would have been visually appealing to those observing the dance.
After midnight, the party continued at the Supper Lounge where guests were entertained to live Latin American music, something I missed due to other obligations.
The event, modeled after Europe’s Vienna Opera Ball was organised by the Austrian Embassy. Proceeds from the night went to two charitable funds, the Yayasan Tunku Naquiyuddin and the Pure Life Society.
The best part of the evening for me though was watching the arrival of female guests. They were like models parading down the runway, all decked in their fineries. However, it was rather sad that some of them did not adhere to the dress code, especially when the organisers had taken so much time and effort detailing the prerequisites on their website. Among the “do’s and don’ts”, were that guests cannot turn up in “normal street suit or short dress”. The women were expected to wear long evening gowns while men in tuxedo or tailcoat. The organisers even gave a list of reputable tailors guests could go to for a more personalized outfit. But come they did in short cocktail dresses and even the Baju Kurung, which were strictly a ‘no, no’.
The target audiences of the Viennese Ball are the Austrian and European community, members of Malaysia’s Royal family, foreign dignitaries and ambassadors, as well as socialites, celebrities and people from the business sectors both local and foreign. This list alone would already give one a good picture of the appropriate dress code required for this Black Tie event that’s associated to grace, charm, elegance and most of all glamour and prestige.
And Malaysians being Malaysians, we just cannot observe simple decorum so you see groups of people standing at the fringe of the dance floor watching people dance. In doing this they deprived others, the seated guests, the chance to watch the dance as their view was blocked by these bodies.
At a prestigious event such as this, all we need is a little common sense.
Posted by: Phat Mama Post(s) by this bloggerThe collaboration of two reputed artists forms the winning formula to Longchamp’s recent collection of 60 exclusively designed Moerman Original bags.
These as well as Longchamp’s Autumn/Winter 2008 Collections were showcased during the brand’s recent 60th Anniversary celebration held at the Main Atrium of The Gardens Mid Valley City.
To celebrate its 60th anniversary, Longchamp has engaged world renowned Belgian artist Jean-Luc Moerman to work his magic on re-editions of the LM Collection, first designed in the 1970s by Philippe Cassegrain. Philippe is the son of Jean Cassegrain, founder of The House of Longchamp in 1948.
Philippe made famous the LM Collection, which he created for the Japanese market. The collection gave Longchamp not only the recognition as a prestigious maker of women’s handbags but also the chance to expand into the rest of Asia.
Nine years before it even opened its first French store on Rue Saint-Honore, Longchamp has already made its presence felt in Asia with its first store in Hong Kong in 1979. Over the years Longchamp has opened more than 100 stores and its brand is carried in about 2000 other outlets.
Showcased at the event were beautiful, timeless pieces that is signature to Longchamp. Each piece reflects true craftsmanship build over 60 years of being in the leather business.
The Moerman Original Collection is an impressive line up of 60 exclusively designed works of art by this world renowned artist. Every piece of handbag has been given its own distinctive quality and character, reflected from the tatoo-styled designs in a combination of colors. Each piece has been uniquely hand-printed by the artist himself.
Additional to these are the Moerman Special Edition series, where the artist uses the LM motif as inspiration, spreading the creatively drawn motifs across the two models - a shopping tote and a handbag - in this series.
Sixty years have seen a lot of changes within Longchamp’s product designs. The small-leather goods brand of the 1950s have evolved tremendously, adding handbags and luggage bags into its collections.
Longchamp may be a designer brand but its collection also boasts many exquisite simple designs such as its bestselling Pliage bags made of synthetic material trimmed with cowhide leather. While colors like browns and grays dominate, Longchamp’s occasional colors of shocking pinks and blues and apple greens are such a welcome sight.
The success of the LM brought about the birth of Veau Foulanne line in 1980 and the Derby Collection in 1982. In 1993 the brand enjoyed bigger fame with its Roseau line while 2004 saw the Zip Bag and 2006 the Garden Foo line designed by London studio Me Company.
While the Rival, Légende and Cosmos are said to be Longchamp’s It bags of the new millenium, nothing less can be said of its Vintage Collection, the MG Collection and the Xlite hobo bag.
Longchamp’s initial business of making famous leather-covered pipes has come to a close, with their last appearance in the brand’s 1978 catalogue. But, the coming years welcome even bigger steps into producing the world’s most well-crafted leather goods.
Posted by: Phat Mama Post(s) by this bloggerDID YOU KNOW that…
GUESS started as a jeans company in 1981.
Paul Marciano established the denim roots of GUESS Inc.
"Denim is the DNA of the GUESS by Marciano brand. It is our world” - Paul Marciano.
Paul Marciano is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chairman of the Board.
GUESS was founded by the Moroccan brothers Paul, Armand, Maurice and Georges.
GUESS recently launched its new collection of denim wear at its Pavilion outlet in Kuala Lumpur.
The evening showcased GUESS by Marciano’s Fall/Winter 2008 collection, which highlights its denim wear campaign.
Emcee Elaine Daly’s speech was to the point and did not make anyone yawn.
The evening started smoothly with guests briefed on the history of GUESS as well as introducing celebrities Amber Chia, Jojo Struys, Hansen Lee and Hitz FM radio deejay, Rudy.
Over the years GUESS had gathered a huge following for its trend-setting clothing and it became the “global lifestyle brand”.
“Global lifestyle brand” – a brand that has complete sets of matching apparels and accessories like handbags, footwear, eyewear, jewelry, watches, belts and small leather goods.
GUESS first stormed the fashion world with its Marilyn jeans - a slim fit, stone-washed, 3-zip jean, which sold out just hours after its first delivery to Bloomingdales.
The fashion showcased highlighted denim jacket with matching denim skirt, cigarette jeans, low-waist shorts, men’s sport shirt, men’s vintage inspired T-shirts, jeans and more jeans.
The new season line up is to remind the world that GUESS is first and foremost a denim brand.
GUESS has returned to its roots.
Posted by: Phat Mama Post(s) by this bloggerWhen an acquaintance invited me to join her friends to this year's Ladies Day Fashions On The Turf event, which took place yesterday, I accepted without hesitating. I was curious what the ladies had planned to adorn their heads with this year.
This annual event was originally introduced in 1711 when Queen Ann of the British Royal family founded the Ascot Races. The tradition of women donning hats on this special day is now practice by race enthusiasts in Malaysia as well as worldwide. And since 1995 the Selangor Turf Club (STC) at Jalan Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur has been the venue where these women gather to enjoy a day watching the races as well as indulging in high fashion as they wine and dine.
The lovely ladies in their fancy hats.
(Clockwise from left) Sylvia Gan with her hat from Bloom, Australia, Melissa Sargeant in her cute straw hat with brown ribbon,Wenddi-Anne Chong in her "flower-power" hat, Datin Christine Lee in her beautiful red hat, Ace looking sweet in all-pink, and Datin Tania Seah steals a glance from underneath her self-made black and white hat.
The party was held at Track View Restaurant at the Grand Stand and my host, Ace Tang, CEO of Pigeon Fly Communications Sdn Bhd and friends were lounging at the VIP area with about 100 other women who were dressed in their party frocks and fancy hats. It was a pretty sight, though a little strange for me as I am more at home with my practical hats, a collection, which I started when I lived in England for two years.
Matching hats and dresses for these beautiful ladies.
(From left) Rachel Borostyan dons a simple hat made of deep red feathers to complement her elaborate dress while Miki Choong has a fancy black hat on to match her simple white dress. Datin Maylene Yong meanwhile not only has a fancy floral hat but her dress "speaks" of roses too.
However, it was an interesting afternoon as I drowned myself in a sea of colors, feathers, lace, flowers, ribbons and the women's banter. And it's good to know that besides the indulgence by these women, the event does spare some thoughts to charity works, which it has been supporting yearly.
This is the first time too that SCT had A Horse For Charity Auction, giving away a three-year-old colt to the highest bidder. Proceeds from this auction went to the Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA). The thoroughbred race horse was donated by Barry Brogan who is a KL-based trainer.
The fashion showcase was brought by Robinsons, featuring the Autumn Winter Collection 2008 from London's Coast and Spain's Trucco while the jewelry collection was from De Gem.
View from the back...pretty or not pretty?
Some imaginative looking hats worn at the party with Chennene Wright's(bottom right) choice winning her a title for the Best Hat Contest.
I left the party early but Ace informed me that Miki Choong and Chennene Wright were among the winners of the Best Hat Contest. So here's a peek at the lovely ladies and their fashionable hats.
Posted by: Phat Mama Post(s) by this bloggerIt’s been a hectic week for me – meeting deadlines, attending events and clearing out the bills before I fly back to Singapore at month’s end. And so the slight ‘neglect’ on my posts.
A few things have been happening around town especially now that the fasting month and the Hari Raya celebration are over. But don’t forget, Deepavali is
just around the corner so it’s time for another excuse to go shopping for everyone, not just those celebrating the season.
On Wednesday, specialty cosmetics retailer Sa Sa held a media party for its Fragrance Fair & Awards for the Year 2008 at Empress Café, The Curve in Mutiara Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. The event was at 3pm and so you can imagine the sweltering heat that greeted guests at the café, it being an outdoor function. But with the way the weather’s been behaving lately I shouldn’t be complaining about the heat, should I?
Amber Chia with Anna Sui's Flight of Fancy and Code Donna from Giorgo Armani.
Sa Sa as most ardent shopper would know stocks a wide range of beauty products for skin care, make up and designer fragrances by Marc Jacobs and Vera Wang to name a few. There are more than 110 Sa Sa stores in Asia alone. It is also one of the top five retail groups in Hong Kong.
One of the key reasons for the award is to help the Malaysian public to identify the fragrance that best speaks of one’s self so we can create our very own individual style through our tastes and preference.
Besides the road tour and the various activities lined up in conjunction with the award, shoppers are also encouraged to vote for their favorite fragrances from the 20 shortlisted by Sa Sa. You can see the full list at http://clovetwo.com/contest/sasa/nominees.asp There are various ways to vote so check out the main story in Style Sheet of http://clovetwo.com/
Some of the fragrances up for nomination.
The 20 selected fragrances were showcased on the day and my friends and I tested a few. Since I love floral notes Anna Sui’s Flight of Fancy win hands down for me. And since I collect glass bottles including miniature perfume bottles, again Flight of Fancy from Anna Sui is in my list of favorites as well as Gucci by Gucci from Gucci and Daisy from Marc Jacobs caught my attention with their beautiful packaging.
Gucci by Gucci from Gucci (L) and Daisy from Marc Jacobs.
Sa Sa’s campaign Ambassador for the Fragrance Fair & Awards 2008 Dynas Mokhtar was present as well as celebrity model Amber Chia who gave the event a breath of fresh air with her eye-catching dress.
Posted by: Phat Mama Post(s) by this bloggerAs promised, here are some pointers for your jewelry made of semi-precious stones.
Facts on semi-precious stones:
1) There are a few things to look out for when choosing your stones. If you do not have a trained eye to scrutinize the characteristics of the stone, at least make sure that the colors are consistent throughout. The price of a gemstone generally depends on rarity, color and size among others.
2) Prices for semi-precious stones vary. Those that are lab-treated to enhance color and remove flaws are normally less expensive. Gemstones are divided into two categories - precious and semi-precious, which are further broken into groups, species and varieties.
3) The most famous gemstones are Aquamarines, Diamonds, Emeralds, Opals, Pearl, Ruby, Sapphires, Spinels and Topaz. However, other gemstones such as Moonstones, Lapis Lazuli and Amber have their own characteristics that give them their value.
4) Semi-precious stones are easily available and this makes finding ones in larger sizes and a variety of colors easier. It also gives the wearer more freedom to create their individual look.
Rule of Thumb when choosing jewelry:
1) Always bear in mind the wearer’s body frame size. Choose jewelry according to the proportion of your body. Small sized women are advised to stay away from jewelry that are too overpowering but if you are tall and a plus size then bigger jewelry will work on you.
2) If you plan to wear a lot of jewelry, stick to clothes of one color only. It would be even better if you can choose a color that will complement your jewelry.
3) If you love the look of diamonds but cannot afford the real one, opt for Cubic Zirconia instead as it has a close resemblance to diamonds.
4) Pearls come in many types, colors and designs these days. Choose the ones you like to add to your collection as pearls look classy and elegant anytime of the day.
5) Cocktail rings can be fun. Wear one or two for a function to add life to your outfit.
6) Always buy jewelry that we are like and can be comfortable with when we wear them.
Care for your jewelry:
1) Jewelry will last longer if it is given proper care like cleaning, storing and repairing.
Store each jewelry in individual containers.
2) Always put on your jewelry AFTER you have applied your make-up, perfume, hairspray or anything else that you use in your beauty regime daily.
3) Remove your jewelry before you start on your housework, especially when you are doing a lot of washing.
4) It is very easy to clean semi-precious stones. When you think it is time for their “bath” place your jewelry in a bowl of warm, soapy water for a few minutes to clean them.
5) Use a soft and non-metallic brush to remove grime, if any.
6) If using a jewelry cleanser, choose one that is non-abrasive. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners.
7) Do not scrub your semi-precious stones too hard.
8) If you are not sure how to treat your jewelry, take it back to your jeweler and ask for help.
9) Never mix your jewelry all in one place. This is the easiest way to get them scratched. Different gemstones has different quality of hardness so always be cautious of his,
10) You can use either tissues or cloth to wrap each individual piece before you put them away. Or, you can get pretty organza pouch bags that are easily available from gift shops to store your jewelry in.
Pretty boxes such as these can be easily bought from any gift shop.
Posted by: Phat Mama Post(s) by this bloggerWhen jewelry made of semi-precious stones, also known as gemstones, was the craze in Malaysia sometime back, I felt it was the best thing that has hit the fashion scene. So I added gemstones and crystals to my collection of silver jewelry as I do not fancy gold. And luckily the craze has not died down to this day.
In Kuala Lumpur I frequent Inspiration Accessories in Bangsar, which sells quality gemstones complemented by fine workmanship. But on a recent hunt for a birthday gift I had to settle with a different outlet because I was in Singapore. Arraya’s Treasures in Novena Square, Singapore stocks a massive collection of gemstones imported from around the world.
There is such a vast selection to choose from Arraya's Treasures.
In choosing my stone, I decided to get expert help from the in-house designer who suggested that I either get pearls or any other gemstone in blue as they are favorites among European ladies. I had to tread carefully here and decide correctly because I like the dramatic and unsafe colors such as that found in Tourmaline and Dalmatian Jasper for example.
So I decided on a strand of Lapis Lazuli to make a necklace for my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday. Keeping the design simple, I opted for silver beads instead of the suggested crystals or pearls to place in-between the stones. Bearing in mind the wearer’s physique, especially the neck, we decided to keep the length at about 18inches or so. This is important as you would want the necklace to sit nicely when worn. Finally, we used silver clasps to place at the end of the strand.
The step-by-step process to string the stones into a necklace.
The Lapis Lazuli is actually a silicate of alumina, soda, lime and sulphur. Although the stone is mainly azure in color, which is a light purplish shade of blue, you can at times find streaks of gold in it. This is actually iron pyrites found in the stone.
The Lapis Lazuli is the ancient birthstone for those born in December while my mother-in-law, Dorothy Newman, was born in October, which makes her birthstone to be a choice of between Opal, Chryophrase, Peridot and Aquamarine.
According to the experts, Lapis Lazuli can protect the wearer from evil and this stone can only be found in USA, Chile, Argentina, Russia and Canada. Opal though is linked to hope, purity and innocence. The stone serves as a link to friendship, emotion and healing forces.
However, over the years, a lot more birthstone lists have cropped up so at the end of the day it is what you want that matters. That aside, I called Dorothy to wish her happy birthday and she did say she loves the necklace anyway.
Dorothy matches her birthday necklace with a simple top in shades of blue, white and brown.
If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at jewelry-making, Arraya encourages its customers to do so by making their purchases there and have a one-on-one lesson on putting the design together with the designer.
In my next post I will give you some facts and tips on buying and caring for your jewelry made of semi-precious stones.
Posted by: Phat Mama Post(s) by this bloggerI took a liking for Topshop's clotheswear when I lived in England for two years in the early 90s. Malaysians living in Kuala Lumpur were not aware of this fashion label then and it was only a couple of years back that it was brought to our market.
Over the years I have seen the label growing stronger and bolder, its collections a lot more daring and modern.
Today there are six outlets in the Klang Valley, one in Johor and another in Penang.
Topshop's Autumn/Winter 2008 collection highlights four different collections - Darkside, Bandstand, Wonderland and Sedition.
Each has its own distinct style playing on the spirit of playfulness and the celebration of life only found in the young at heart.
Sedition has a more laidback and casual feel, teaming oversized jackets with skinny pants and body hugging tops. While some of its jackets made of intarsia mohair knits are a bit OTT (over the top) to be worn in our weather, they are stunningly trendy should you need something to keep the chill from the Autumn wind at bay when abroad.
More spunk from Sedition.
Animal prints on jacquard silk and leather, which are my favorites, take the limelight at Topshop though Malaysians are not so quick to add these to their preferred fashion style.
Tartan skirts also make a comeback but this year's see more flare but hemlines have gone further up. If you are uncomfortable with showing too much skin, the black stockings/leggings look is back as well so all you do is match them.
For the romantic, Darkside offers plenty of room to indulge. The designs carry gothic undertones with detail work. While black still reigns supreme, Darkside also ventures into soft shades of lilac, nude and cream on lightweight chiffon dresses.
Darkside features a more party-feel in design and style.
If you are the rough-and-tumble kind of person then Topshop's military look from its Bandstand collection gives you endless choices.
And have you ponder yet over what to wear for your New Year's party? Wonderland has a selection of chic and daring pieces made of rich fabrics in exaggerated styles. Organza, silk and chiffon rule.
Get ready to party in Topshop's Wonderland collection.
When dressing up in Topshop, the least that you need is creativity.
Posted by: Phat Mama Post(s) by this bloggerIt is said that as we grow older our skin renewal process starts to slow down. This is a natural ageing process.
According to Estee Lauder's Training Manager and Skin Specialist Audrey Ang the older we get the more frequent we should do our facial scrubbing and masking. Once or twice is the standard requirement but more is always better than less.
A complete range of skincare product from Estee Lauder to kee you skin glowing.
Pigmentation occurs for two reasons - sun damage and increase in age. And they become more pronounced when women reach menopause. As our hormones change the pigmentation will become bigger and darker. That is why using sun-blocks, an SPF50, for older women, is vital to control the pigmentation.
Lightening our pigmentation caused by the accumulation of sun damage during our younger days will be quite a challenge. Although laser treatments are an alternative method it cannot rid of the problem totally because the treatment does not penetrate the second layer of the skin where the root of the problem is. Two of the most important products that help repair our skin are mositurizers and repair serums.
Estee Lauder is known for its repair products catering to different skin conditions. Its CyberWhite range for example is a total cleansing system that has specific ingredients to repair damage to skin.
Estee Lauder's CyberWhite Ex Skin Brightening System. Prices start from RM130.
After using our skincare products we must follow it with an application of moisturizer and finally, sun-block. Once skin is damaged it will take longer to improve therefore do not give up easily and expect miracles in just a few weeks of using our skincare range.
But if we are patient, we will notice improvements to our skin. We will enjoy a healthy looking skin if we follow these simple rules.