Fall 2010

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting New York during fashion week. While I didn't make it to any official shows due to time constraints, I did drop by a lavish event at the Waldorf-Astoria.

The gorgeous ceiling of the Grand Ballroom.

Called "Couture Fashion Week," this three-day queue of shows and exhibits isn't on the Mercedes-Benz-sponsored agenda, but rather produced independently, and featured miscellaneous artists and designers from around the world. By no means a paltry production- VIP tickets ran as high as five grand a piece- I attended because of my recent internship. My boss, Susan Freda, had been invited to create a sculptural wire dress (her specialty), and I'd spent weeks helping to develop and crochet the lace patterns that composed the piece.

I wasn't able to catch Sue's show on Saturday, but after a long morning bus ride & winding through the Valentine's and Chinese New Year-infatuated streets, I arrived in time to attend a show featuring Susi Hammer of Argentina, Prizy Sebastian of the USA, and the Korea Couture Design Collective.

To be honest, I felt that the designs were somewhat lacking. Most of the show wasn't that impressive, and it seemed like the focus of the overall production was high-end entertainment rather than the promotion of truly outstanding design. All I could think was that it certainly wasn't McQueen, but that is probably unfair.

In any case, there were some gorgeous pieces.

Very Prada-esque, don't you think?

This feathered/tulle ensemble by the Korea Collective was, hands down, my favorite piece of the show.

Suzi Hammer and her models.

...I didn't realize runway photography was so difficult! So often, the models breezed right by me before I could even focus the lens. Fortunately I was sitting second-row, so it made things a little easier.

It was an interesting experience, in the end. I will post photos of the wire gown from my internship when I get them!

Also, actual fashion week reviews to come!



Alexander McQueen

My visual tribute to him. Materials: prints, rose petals, tulle, markers, gold-plated wire.

So very little that I can say, and certainly nothing that can come close to what I feel. Indescribable, to wake up to the news of Alexander McQueen's death on the first day of fashion week. On a beautiful morning bright with sun and dreams.

He was one of my first major inspirations, if not the first. His Anglomania collection of tartans and lace captivated my naive mind when I was still grappling with the enormous concept of fashion that I stumbled upon in sophomore year of high school.

So much brilliance. What has the ability to counter that is something I don't even want to venture into, philosophically. It will have to be enough to say, that as I write this on my knees (unintentional, my chair happens to be elsewhere), that his vision has always been enough to make me fall to my knees.

The quote I scribbled at the bottom of the collage:

"What moves those of genius, what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough."
-Eugene Delacroix

Detail shots:

Oh, that peacock dress.

That passion.

He is missed, terribly. May he rest in peace.



My first couture wedding dress

...crafted from sustainable paper!

Photos by me; collage by Botanical Paperworks

Two months ago, I finished stitching together a mountain of plantable seed paper with cotton thread for my first semester's final project.

The prompt? To create a garment without using fabric, and with some kind of used or recycled material. Most students sourced old factory materials and waste products, and created all sorts of interesting confections from scrap vinyl, shoelaces, egg cartons, etc.

But reusing materials only go so far- eventually they would become waste after the final design. Thus, my mind started spinning in a different direction- how could I design without leaving any carbon footprint whatsoever?

Then I remembered an innovative packaging material I had once seen. A few years ago, when I worked for LUSH Cosmetics, they had created a limited edition gift box, and the packaging had been a biodegradable paper embedded with flower seeds.

All of a sudden, I got really, really excited about this material. So I sent out some queries. And to my delight, Botanical Paperworks, a company that creates this paper from 100% post-consumer waste for special-occasion stationery, agreed to sponsor my project and sent me a hundred 14x17" sheets of it!

And the Plantable Wedding Dress was born.

My presentation board/illustration.

Want to see the final dress? Botanical Paperworks blogged about my project and the final product here! You can also see more photos on my website. I'll keep you updated on whether it makes it into our annual fashion show in May!

What do you guys think? I would love to see a revolution of greener bridal wear, considering how many wedding dresses see the light of day once, then disappear into attics or closets forever!



CAP #2

First post of February- sorry I've been gone for so long!

In the meantime, I've given my first official interview (my last one was a little poetry feature in the local newspaper!) In it, I talk about what inspires me as a designer, and share some insight about working as a design student. You can read it here.

A big thank-you to Meggy Wang of Fashion for Writers for interviewing me!

As to the actual post, I wanted to write more on the concept of living at full CAPacity: Conscious, Active, and Passionate. A few weeks back, I initiated the topic by stating that many people search for ways to "live passionately," and offered up a few suggestions on how to strive for exactly that. Here is the second installment!

1) Let go. We all have a past. From that past, many issues may be following us into the present. Most of them might not even be relevant anymore, and manifest in the form of emotional baggage. Of course, some of us might have a little more to deal with than others (like the guy below).
If you think about it, yesterday's problems or the nature of your relationships to-date are exactly that- things you cannot control any longer. Nor can you control what exactly will happen in the future, no matter how much you plan. The only thing you can focus on is the present moment. Why not embrace that with everything you have, and let go of what might be tying you down unnecessarily? Being excited about what you have to do is so much better use of your brain space than worrying about or rethinking "could-haves."

It sounds easier said than done, but it is an extremely conscious decision to move on with your life on to bigger and better things. And isn't consciousness what CAP is all about?

If you let go of what is troubling you, you will be able to...

2) Decide what is important to you! In the bigger picture of your life, before you break it down into events and specifics, what matters the most right now? The last part might seem like a contradiction, but we are constantly evolving, even when we might think we understand our goals. So take it from your current standpoint, but expand the question to include as far as you can see.

Is it your personal evolution? Your relationships with those who matter the most to you? A need to help the world in some way or solve a particular problem? No answer is better than another if it truly resonates with you.

Then strive to bring this understanding into your present moment. Make an effort to hold the thought of what you would like to do or cherish in your mind.

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world." -Buddha

"We become like that on which our hearts are fixed." -Elbert Hubbard

3) Bring passion into everything. Since one of my major intentions for the year is about balance, I've been thinking a great deal about how to balance out my life, and yet retain the positive extremities. I came to the conclusion that in this context, you can choose to live in one of three ways:
  • Being really passionate in certain aspects of your life, and lackluster in others- thus, lack of balance.
  • Not really being passionate about any aspect- balanced, but obviously lacking in other ways
  • Striving to be passionate about every aspect- balanced with a purpose!
It might seem obvious, but I've realized that the most straightforward way to live passionately is to be passionate about everything. Think about the last time you felt truly energized, open, and devoted to what you were doing. What if you channeled a touch of that into everything on your to-do list, and each situation you encountered throughout the day?


What do you find most important when it comes to living consciously, actively, and passionately? I'd love to hear examples of how you've succeeded in making CAP a priority in your life!