Transparent accessories are in FASHION.

You may have seen these invisible innocent little hair ties   taking the world by storm:

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I couldn’t resist jumping on the bandwagon. They’re great for putting your hair up without crumpling the hair strands and creating crease lines. Although they can stretch out, they magically regain their tight shape! I’m a big fan. (Though I fear it will be one of those short-lived fashion statements that I will have to explain to my children as they doubt my coolness as a 20-year old…)

Anyone who reads this blog will know by know… I love watches. So, with this clear/transparent trend going on in hair fashion, I looked for watches that were following a similar aesthetic. SWATCH was the main leader in transparent, fun time-telling accessories. At Stansted airport on my way from London to Ljubljana, I bought this lovely little watch: Thin Liner. I love the sleek thickness of the watch face as well as the fun colour choices. It’s definitely a statement of me not wanting to enter the later half of my 20s….

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Here I am in Ljubljana wearing both clear accessories:

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Hair ties and watches aside, Slovenia is one of my new favourite places in the world. (As in, I want to start learning Slovenian so I can move there…luckily the language is very similar to Bulgarian in pronunciation, it just uses Latin characters rather than Cyrillic). The nature, people, architecture, and city were all breathtaking, humble, and comforting.  Watch this space… but I reckon by 30, I’ll be wearing my Swatch and Invisibobble in Slovenia! #maybe #languagelearning #centraleurope

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My Watch-obsession: Top 5 wristwatches for time keeping

I have a love of watches because they are one of the original single-function devices of the 20th century. Before tech giants came in and offered 200 different functions on your wrist,  a watch was a simply accessory that served one function: time-keeping. Slowly, some wristwatches started offering a date-display, dual time zones, and 60 second timers on the front dial. And today, there are millions of different clock options, but my favourite UX still remains the circular 12-hour analog dial. I can’t seem to quite visualise time as effectively on a digital clock because it’s one thing to read 12:40 and another to see the two moving hands that make a pie slice (clearly displaying a third of an hour until 1 PM).

I have 2 fundamental beliefs when it comes to watches:

  • It must FUNCTIONALLY display the time in a readable manner (not just be a fashion accessory)
  • A watch should look and function like a CLOCK.

AKA. a watch should enable you to arrive on-time and time manage your day (function) before (form) it looks stylish.

After ranting about function, let me move on to say: I love the design of watches. 

In the last 4 years, I’ve been investing in my (slight) watch obsession and though I’d share some of my favourite designs/makers for my personal taste.

  1. Mondaine Ladie’s Evo Watch 

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Mondaine is the official Swiss Railway watch, so you will see that exact clock interface if you take a train in Switzerland! It’s got a classic strong colour combination: red, white, and black. And for anyone who’s a typography-lover, their new collection Mondaine Helvetica is absolutely gorgeous.

2. Withings Activité Pop 

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This was my first and only attempt at a wearable device. The obvious reason I went for this design over others on the market was the analog-styled dial. (This was one of the first on the marketplace and since then there have been more analog-dial wearables.) The wearable also measured your daily steps and synced with my iPhone. Plus, it measured swimming activity and had a battery life of over 6 months without ever charging.

3. Shore Project #3 – Newquay

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Shore Projects is an independent British watch manufacture. Having lived in the UK for over 4 years now, I felt some sense of loyalty to try a British brand. Plus, I love their branding (the packaging had a complete brand identity) and the idea of watches designed as limited-time ‘projects.’ This was also my first watch with brown leather (oh the adventurousness!)

4. Eone Bradley Compass Iris 

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My latest discover (Thanks to Wired Magazine!) was Eone Time – most likely my next purchase. Besides their clever logo and interesting dial interface, the watch is designed in Braille-style, allowing blind individuals to feel what time it is.

“Because telling time shouldn’t require sight.” – inspired by Gold Paralympics Medalist Brad Snyder

5.  Skagen – This Danish brand has been taking off in the last 6-months as I keep noticing more and more Skagen watches around my office. They have a great mixture of timeless and modern design principles and my favourite from their current collection is: Hagen Steel Bracelet and Anita Crystal Steel Mesh.

Honourable Mention: And also, have a look at Daniel Wellington for ‘prepy-style’ and classic watches. It draws influence from British Isles, but is a Swedish watch brand. Amazingly, the first DW watch was sold in 2011 – but it’s now found around the world as a symbol of style and simplicity.

I’ve decided that if I win the lottery… I’m going to retire and become a watch-designer. Happy Sunday @11:54 AM.

 

 

Chanel No. 5 Films and the question of Stardom.

These are a couple of the Chanel No. 5 Films which have come out in recent years. This merging of entertainment and advertising is called ‘Branded Content’ – which as the name suggests is working towards marketing a certain Brand Name. In this case, it’s the classic Chanel Number 5 perfume, which has had female endorsements from Marilyn Monroe to Catherine Deneuve. It’s interesting to note – through the main choice of female actress – the way stardom works.

1. Both films reference each actresses’ most known and popular film – Amelie for Audrey Tautou and Moulin Rouge for Nicole Kidman

2. Both films were directed by the same director as the films listed above – Baz Lurhmann for Kidman’s Chanel No. 5 and Jean-Pierre Jeunet for Amelie.

3. Look at the way nationality is rendered in each film – the subtle differences between European Femininity and White American Femininity (despite Kidman’s Australian roots).

4. Both films have a marked different visual aesthetic despite the fact that they are selling the same product. Look at the pinkish tones paired with Kidman’s blonde hair as opposed to the yellow tones paired with Tautou.

Each star has a different persona that is built over a career of appearing in films, advertisements, magazines, talk shows, and inter-textual materials. A star’s on-screen and off-screen persona as well as their public and private life begin to merge. If you’re interested in stardom as a formal discourse, I would suggest Richard Dyer’s book Stars (London: BFI Publishing, 1979) – in which Dyer sets out to distinguish between stars as a social phenomenon, stars as images, and stars as signs. Furthermore, he analyses the tensions between ‘character’, star, and performance.

I leave you with a question from Dyer to ponder over stardom and performance…

Are stars a phenomenon of production (arising from what the makers of films provide) or of consumption (arising from what the audience for films demands)? (Stars, Pg. 9)

Happy First of March.

Happy First of March.

In Bulgaria, the 1st of March is a national holiday under the the title ‘ Baba Marta’ – translated as ‘Grandma March.’ The tradition is that you put on your ‘martenitsa’ on the 1st of March and you wait until you see the first stork to take it off. A ‘martenitsa’ is made of red and white yarn to symbolise good health. It can take the form of a bracelet (the more hipster version) or a man and woman tassel that you pin to your outfit each day. The stork symbolises the coming season of Spring. And when you take it off… you can either tie it to a tree or children put it under a rock and the stork comes to replace your ‘martenitsa’ with money (one could say that this is a Tooth Fairy equivalent as there is no such story in Bulgarian Culture).

So here’s to the ending of Winter, and to a new spring. It may not be a new year, but personally, I feel like new opportunities are calling with the blossoming flowers.

Martenitsa

Честитa баба мартa, аз ви пожелавам щастие, здраве и късмет за пролетта.

“Les Secrets de la Réussite du luxe à la française”

L’article original: Clique Ici 

Résumé: Cet article écrit par Julie de La Brosse en 2013 se concentre sur les produits de luxe en France qui sont en ligne avec la tradition de glamour et mode. D’une façon générale, l’article parle de la production, la consommation, et la culture autour des produits de luxe – en particulier la mondialisation de marché à l’extérieur. Les points de l’article reposent sur les données et la recherche. Au tout début, La Brosse compare Le Quatar Luxury Group au luxe français. L’auteur mentionne le groupe LVMH qui comporte les grandes marques Louis Vuitton, Moët et Hennessy. Ce groupe représente l’importance des produits de luxe à la française dans les secteurs de la mode, l’alcool, les bijoux, le maquillage et le parfum. Et LVMH est la marque la plus rentable – citée comme « la cash machine du luxe à la française ». Elle est suivie par Chanel, Cartier, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci et Christian Dior Couture, elles sont toutes françaises à l’exception de Gucci qui est une marque Italienne.

Dans l’économie française, la production et exportation des produits de luxe ont toujours eu une importance. De plus, le prix des produits de luxe a augmenté entre 1976 et 2012 plus que le prix des autres biens de consommation. Donc, la culture autour du luxe est vraiment importante pour l’économie français et la production des produits à l’interne et à l’externe. L’article dit que « le solde commercial du luxe serait de 20 à 30 milliards d’euros chaque années. Plus que l’aéronautique ! »

Le Bosse parle également des développements dans les autres pays et leur impact sur les produits de luxe français. L’article parle de l’importance de la classe aisée chinoise qui a gagné plus d’importance économiquement dans les achats de produits de luxe. Au niveau de consommateurs, les Etats-Unis, le Japon, la Chine et la Grande-Bretagne ont plus de millionnaires dans la population. Mais au niveau de production des produits haut-de-gamme pour le marché mondial,  la France a une grande part de marché. Alors, le luxe est un des plus importants exportateurs de la France. Et avec la crise, l’industrie du luxe a aussi connu quelques turbulences – comme une baisse de la consommation et culturellement, la lutte contre la corruption. Et encore, c’est important de noter l’impact de la montée en puissance de la population aisée chinoise.  Même si les Etats-Unis reste le plus grand consommateur, la demande des autres nouveaux marchés modifie l’évolution des facettes de la planète luxe (comme e-commerce). À la fin de l’article, La Brosse dit que le secteur florissant est important pour le reste de l’industrie française.

September is the January of Fashion.

“I think that what I often see is that people are frightened of fashion and that because they’re scared of it, or it makes them feel insecure they put it down. On the whole, people that say demeaning things about our world. I think that’s usually because they feel in some ways excluded or not part of the cool group. So as a result they just mock it.” – Anna Wintour (Editor-in-Chief of Vogue)

In the documentary: The September Issue (R.J. Cutler, 2010)

Watch The September Issue and The Devil Wears Prada together. It provides a stark contrast between a fictional story written by Wintour’s past assistant and a ‘documentary’ film that follows Wintour behind-the-scenes of actual Vogue. Whether or not fashion interests/scares you, I promise it’s worth your entertainment and intellectual time. 

“What do you wear to bed?”

1. A new commercial from Chanel no. 5 discussing Marilyn Monroe’s famous quote and the media  that follows the sex symbol, movie actress, and international star. My gosh, I am always impressed by her carefree persona.

2. This video is very visually pleasing and well edited – from the font choices to the classy white-and-black backgrounds. This ad displays archived footage, new images, text, recordings, and a voice-over. Almost imitating a documentary film style – an investigation into Marilyn’s legacy in the 50s. However, the fascination with Marilyn continues to elicit excitement and allure as this Channel ad demonstrates perfectly. Plus, for the high class image that Chanel No. 5 wants to promote, I believe this video serves its goal of glamour and appeal very well.

Oh la la, Marilyn’s star persona never get old: “I’ve never fooled anyone. I’ve let people fool themselves. They didn’t bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn’t argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn’t.”