Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Oh! Let's Get Lost"

Playing: Daydreamer - Bipolar Sunshine
Reading: Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
After seeing so much of the Costume Institute on Hamish Bowle's Instagram, I couldn't hep but want to see it for myself. However, I never got the chance during any of my family jaunts to New York. Consequently, it was one of the first places I checked out when I started at NYU. At the time, it was their "Death Becomes Her" exhibit, which chronicled mourning clothing. Interesting but not what I expected at all. Half a dozen Met trips later, I made a point of seeing the "China:Through the Looking Glass" exhibit before heading back to SoCal. It was amazing how the Met set up labyrinthine pathways that took you from traditional homes to mirrored hallways all showcasing Chinese influence on Western design. Overall, I enjoyed the exhibit and the chance to see so many pieces from John Galliano, Tom Ford, and Jean Paul Gaultier. Even though the exhibit did include pieces from other brands like Valentino and Rodarte, I would have liked to see more from other designers other than the three previously mentioned.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"A moment you'll never remember..."

Reading: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Since I'm done with my first year at NYU and no longer have a proper excuse for neglecting the blog, I thought I'd write something up quickly. 

Have you ever found that you become ten times more productive/adventurous when you know time is running out? Well, that's what happened to me when I realized that I only had a month left before heading back to SoCal. My last month consisted of running off to finally try the famous afternoon tea at the Plaza and exploring more of Central Park (I went three times!). I also managed a visit to the David Zwirner Gallery to check out my favorite artist's, Yayoi Kusama's, "Obliteration Room" and a stop at Chanel's "No. 5 in a New Light" exhibit.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Met Gala: China Through the Looking Glass

Playing: Tongues-Joywave
Reading: Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates
When I first heard the theme for this year's Met Gala, "China: Through the Looking Glass," I cringed a bit. As an Asian-American, I was worried that fashion's biggest event would make a mockery of Chinese culture because let's face it - it's a fine line between celebrating a foreign culture and being racist. I was afraid that Chinese fashion would be shown in costume-y and cheesy ways that would make it hard for Asians to feel genuine pride in their culture.
However, to my surprise, many attendees actually came in tasteful attire that hinted to the Chinese theme without being obnoxious. My personal favorite was Anna Ewers' outfit because it was chic even outside of the Asian context of the night. I loved how her kanzashi-esque hair piece served as subtle reminder of the night's theme without coming off cheesy. Rita Ora's Tom Ford dress also impressed me in the way that its structural shoulders reminded me of a qipao yet it was still a dress that could be worn to any function.
While there were plenty of classy renditions of Chinese dresses like Zhang Ziyi's Caroline Herrera gown and Bee Shaffer's sakura print Alexander McQueen, there were still enough gowns to leave me feeling slightly offended, as if the Chinese theme of the night was taken as an opportunity to put on some sort of a costume. Model Karolina Kurkova's Tommy Hilfiger mini-dress left me feeling especially offended because of its cheesy interpretation of Chinese clothing. Don't you feel like it's too cliche to just show up in a red satin dress with some gold brocade and call it Chinese? It just felt like something you would find in a touristy Chinatown gift shop.
Arguably, Rihanna's dress is just as costume-y as Kurkova's. However, there are two big differences in my mind why Rihanna's outfit was acceptable and why Kurkova's wasn't. First of all, Rihanna is known for her avant-garde taste in fashion, so I saw her dress as more of an appreciation of a work of art rather than a costume. Second of all, Rihanna's dress is from a Chinese designer, Guo Pei. Who am I to argue over the "correct" representation of Chinese culture with another Chinese person?
With that distinction in mind, I couldn't help but wonder, why not just take the easy route for this year's Met Gala and wear a dress from an Asian designer? Isn't that the easiest (and least offensive) way to pay homage to Asian culture?  It's not like you would have to go as extreme as Guo Pei's cape or anything, since there are plenty of luxurious and chic Asian designers to choose from like: Richard Chai, Prabal Gurung, Derek Lam, Philip Lim, Anna Sui, Alexander Wang, Vera Wang, and Jason Wu. I just felt like considering how many amazing Asian designers there are, it was disappointing to see so few Asian brands represented at the gala, considering the theme.

Photo Sources- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Saturday, March 28, 2015

spring break photo diary

Playing: Hurricane-MisterWives
Reading: Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck (Amazing book!)
Instead of heading back home over spring break, I took a trip along the East Coast with a group of friends, stopping off at Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Unfortunately, I was sick for most of Washington D.C. and Baltimore. However, I really enjoyed Philadelphia. It wasn't my first time there as I've been there twice before, but I had just forgotten how beautiful Philadelphia can be. On the second day we were there, we visited the Philadelphia Art Museum and walked along the Schuylkill River Trail and wow, it was beyond stunning. The classical style of the Fairmount Water Works and museum buildings contrasted with the modern skyline is just a beautiful sight to see. Baltimore has a more subtle sense of beauty and wonderment than Philly has. Its landmarks and tourist spots aren't as well known and obvious in terms of importance to American history, but it was rare jewels like the American Visionary Art Museum that made me enjoy my time there. The AVAM felt like a collection of relics from my childhood, represented by glittering objects and animated folk art.

Picture: 1-DC War Memorial, 2-Fort McHenry, 3-AVAM, 4-Fairmount Water Works, 5-Honeygrow, 6-Meeting Kazuo Ishiguro at the Free Library, 7-Philadelphia City Hall

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Inspiration for Cold Weather Looks

Playing: Electric Love-BØRNS
Reading: Hiroshima Notes by Kenzaburō Ōe
Due to a horrible mix of food poisoning, schoolwork and long hours in class, I'm afraid I'm going to have to sit out on NYFW. It kills me looking at the photos to know that I'm not attempting to sneak into any shows, but I'm still getting excited about all the new looks nonetheless. With the freezing weather, I've been stuck in a rut of black skinny jeans, Doc Martens, and fluffy sweaters underneath my Mackage coat. My wardrobe is in definite need of something new. I'm loving the fur coats, Leandra Medine's bright red dress, and Eva Chen's effortless monochromatic look. The real question though is - am I ready to pull my skirts and dresses out for wintertime? 

PS If you're freezing, try these earmuffs? Just got them and they keep me warmer than my beanies.

All photos taken from Vogue.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Japan Trip: Kyoto

Playing: She Lied to the FBI-Alkaline Trio
Reading: The Tale of Layla and Majnun by Nizami
It's been forever since I posted anything about my trip to Japan, so I apologize in advance for posting this so late. I still want to cover what I did in the countryside and in Tokyo yet I'm just covering Kyoto today. Tina and I started off our time in Kyoto around the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and the surrounding area. We particularly liked how tranquil the forest was and it was pleasant to walk around Arashiyama itself. (May we recommend Gyatei, which offers a wide range of traditional Japanese food, for lunch?)
While walking around the forest, we stumbled upon the Nonomiya Shrine, which was surprisingly nice. It had all sorts of colorful paper cranes decorating the area and seemed like a popular stop among tourists and locals alike. From what we could tell, there seemed to be a sort of beauty pageant that took place there or a Geisha dress up sort of deal? We couldn't tell from the scarce advertisements.
What made Kyoto so beautiful is its tranquil nature scenes and all of the picture perfect locations. The Togetsu Bridge, which crosses the Katsura River, offers especially peaceful views and if you walk along the banks of the Katsura River, you can easily find a place where you could rent boats to go about the river. If you're interested in an arduous hike, you can climb up the mountain right by the Togetsu Bridge to visit a monkey park.
Kyoto is known for being the home to a lot of Japan's cultural and artistic heritage. Consequently, Tina and I went out of our way to visit every shrine we walked past, which led us to visiting Yasaka Jinja. Yasaka Jinja itself was very beautiful and I highly recommend visiting it. It sprawls over a large chunk of land and has every aspect of a shrine you could want from beautiful paper lanterns to amazing pieces of architecture. At the time we were there (mid-July) there was even a street festival being set up on one of the side streets next to it.
The main reason we found ourselves at Yasaka Jinja was because Tina and I really wanted to go to the Gion Distrit, which is known for having quite a few Geishas walking around. While we were there, we did see a Geisha. However, she was not stopping for photos and walked briskly by. I loved the older style of the buildings in this district and all of the side streets. It was rather quaint. While you're there, I recommend stopping by Saryo TSUJIRI for matcha parfaits and wandering along the Kamo River.
One of our favorite shrines that we visited was the Fushimi-Inari Shrine, which is famous for its long rows of torii gates. We liked how this shrine was decorated and how it offered multiple paths to hike along and how all the paths lead us to another shrine. We also visited Kiyomizu-dera and Kinkaku-ji, which I both highly recommend if you have the time to visit them. However, I wanted to share a few shrines that are lesser known but still worth visiting in this post. We usually walked around the areas surrounding a lot of the shrines and I feel like those alleyways and rambling streets were one of the best things about Kyoto. They hid a plethora of cute cafes and shops to stop by.

PS While you're in Kyoto, you should also take advantage of the nama yatsuhashi selection. Nama yatsuhashi is a mochi based crepe-like dessert often stuffed with red bean of fruit preserves and Kyoto is famous for it!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Chanel SS 2015 Haute Couture

Reading: Come Away by Stephen Policoff
Haute couture week has come and gone and it was a wonderful season. From John Galliano's triumphant return to fashion at Maison Martin Margiela to the country-inspired looks at Viktor & Rolf, this season had its fair share of whimsy and fun. No other show took away my breath the way Chanel did though. By far, Chanel's most beautiful collection in years. For most Chanel shows, it takes me awhile to warm up to them. However, the SS 2015 Haute Couture collection immediately caught my attention with its ethereal beauty and youthful LBDs (looks 33-37). I especially enjoyed the lovely flower decorations placed along the hems of skirts, sleeves, and various beanies. (How dream-worthy is the finale wedding dress with its exquisite skirt!) All in all, it was refreshing to see a little less of the tweed suit and more of the gorgeous frocks that we all want to own. By the way, is there anyway Karl Lagerfeld could send me one of those beanies to help me survive this winter? Please and thank you!

Photos: 1,3 and 5 from Chanel News/ 2 and 4 from Vogue

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Quick Trips to Washington, D.C.

Playing: No Phun Intended (Whole Album)-Tyler Joseph
Reading: Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Way back in October, I took a weekend trip down to visit my brother, Ted, in Washington, D.C. I haven't been to D.C. for around six years now and I have to apologize to D.C. for not liking it the first time I visited. This time around D.C. felt cleaner than last time and I loved the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History's aquatic section. I'm not sure if it's because I like aquatic things in general or if it's because it was actually of exceptional quality though.
Walking around the National Mall, I found this little fountain and sitting area next to the old Smithsonian Institution Building that was rather quaint. I liked this little pocket of beauty in the middle of the area.
The Smithsonian "Castle" was closed the day I went unfortunately, so I couldn't go inside. However, it was nice to walk around the lovely gardens and I enjoyed looking at the actual building, which is rather impressive. Lately, I've been into castles and such probably as a distraction from my finals. I mean, why study for finals when there's a documentary on Chatsworth on Netflix and you have easy access to Wikipedia?
My brother and I took a quick day trip to Baltimore, MD to check out the National Aquarium. Although it was nice, my brother and I both thought it was overpriced considering the tickets cost more than the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA and we both think the one in Long Beach is much nicer. They do have larger animals, at the one in Baltimore though, like dolphins and such. How pretty is this jellyfish ceiling decoration? I wouldn't mind putting up something like this in my home.
The main reason for my trip down was to see Bastille's The Last Stand concert. I was kind of disappointed by the performance because the audience was seriously low energy and not many people were singing along aside from "Pompeii" and "Bad Blood." Maybe it's because I've been getting used to general admission concerts, but something about stadium seating makes it hard to get into the concert. I also felt like Dan Smith didn't interact with the audience that much except for a few awkward attempts at dancing. I usually find awkward dancing extremely endearing (Examples? I love Andrew McMahon's and Forrest Kline's dance moves). However, I didn't feel the same towards Bastille and I'm not quite sure why. Anyways, sorry for being an extraordinarily lazy blogger, but I really ought to try harder to keep this up. I've been blogging for close to six years, so I feel a sense of obligation towards the site.