Bio: A Singaporean investor, commercial model, beauty queen and philanthropist. Liyann began her commercial modelling career at 16 and later represented Singapore in international beauty pageants in Asia Pacific and in the United States. She has since won several international beauty pageant titles. Liyann is also responsible for founding the International Children Foundation that advocates equal educational opportunities for underprivileged kids.
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“The Pearl Necklace” by MIKIMOTO – a tribute to the legend of the Pearl Necklace.
It is without a doubt that The Pearl Necklace is an emblem of tradition, quintessential heirloom and a symbol of feminine purity. Earlier this March, Mikimoto presented the world’s most authoritative periodical, at the MIKIMOTO Pearl Necklace Book Launch event in Singapore. MIKIMOTO’s “The Pearl Necklace” book is co-authored by jewellery historian, Vivienne Becker and award-winning journalist, Assouline. The book lends insight into the legacy of the MIKIMOTO pearl necklace. This authoritative volume transports readers on a mesmerizing, and insightful journey through the history of the pearl necklace.
Adorned by Royalty
Renaissance Queens, Maharajahs, and Hollywood starlets have infused the pearl necklace into their wardrobes. A rich exploration of the lustrous gem since antiquity, Vivienne writes about the evolution of the pearl to become the object of desire, fascination and fantasy. Encrusted with myth and legend, and radiant with intrigue and romance, the pearl necklace is a universal icon that has threaded its way through the history of jewellery and fashion.
The Legend of the Cultured Pearl
MIKIMOTO was founded by Kokichi Mikimoto in 1893; the year he pioneered the technique for pearl cultivation. In today’s prime modern society, the pearls on sale are mainly cultured pearls, with MIKIMOTO remaining the world leader in cultured pearls.
Unveiling “The Pearl Necklace” Book in Singapore
Earlier this March , MIKIMOTO presented a launch of The Pearl Necklace at the JW Marriot South Beach Hotel in Singapore. On display was the spectacular Marilyn Monroe Pearl Necklace – a classic 16-inch cultured Akoya pearl necklace (Click here for more about the Mikimoto Akoya Pearl) worn by undoubtedly one of the world’s most renown on-and-off-screen icons, Marilyn Monroe herself. The MIKIMOTO Pearl Stream – a glorious body jewellery piece set in 18k white gold, with Akoya pearls and diamonds was also exhibited at the presentation.
A Glamourous Gathering
The event was attended by Mr. Yasuhiko Hashimoto, Director & Senior Vice President of Sales Division & Marketing Group, Mikimoto and Mr. Tomotsugu Ito, Managing Director of MIKIMOTO Singapore.
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About that L’OFFICIEL Singapore Rated-X Party at Zouk last week.
Constantly on the frontier of fashion and opulence, L’Officiel Singapore’s 10th anniversary party was one of the hottest of the year. From Swarovski crystal-emblazoned black carpet to Lamborghinis and sizzling pole-dancing performances, the ‘Rated-X’ theme definitely punctuated the event, held at Singapore’s new Zouk Club.
Swarovski Crystal-Emblazoned Black Carpet
Red-carpets are way over-rated. Instead, L’Officiel Singapore’s X-Rated party sported a dazzling Swarovski crystal-emblazoned black carpet with a shimmering colossal “X” statue at its arrival grounds. Their anniversary issue this March, also marks the debut of the all new “L’Off Squad” comprising of Sonya Davison, Tabitha Nauser, Tan Min-Li, Calista Cuaca, Natalia Ng, Karisa Sukamto and Rozz Lee.
The Lamborghini Bulls Ride In.
A convoy of Lamborghinis ferried the L’Off Squad to the event and a myriad of stations were lineup for the guests: Alessia Landi’s live illustrations, beauty makeover counter by Clinique, DIY scent bar by Oo La Lab, fresh juices from Joe & The Juice, ice-cold beers from Heineken.
Capture Your Scent in a Bottle at the Oo La Lab Counter
Individualism on a full display. There is nothing more intriguing than crafting your very own personalised scent in a bottle. Breaking beauty rules, Oo La Mixologist worked with guests to design their very own bespoke hand-crafted fragrances. At Oo La Lab in Singapore, you may formulate your personalised glass bottle with your name or customised message printed on the label. Capture your scent in a bottle.
Plump up for a night of seduction at the beauty makeover counter by Clinique
To gear up for a night for ‘X-Rated’ seduction, L’Officiel’s guests were extended invitations to the beauty counter by Clinique to plumper up their luscious lips. Seductive red hot lips spells for a sizzling night ahead.
Alessia Landi’s Illustrations
A portrait on paper. One of the best gifts in the world is not in the material object that one can buy, but in the memories that we make with the people with love. The best part is to have memories and expressions captured on paper. Alessia Landi’s live illustrations of the guest captures memories, emotions, details and beauty of the human. L’Officiel‘s guests were treated to Alessia Landi’s live illustrations of themselves with runway looks from Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2017 collection.
Tabitha Nauser slayed the crowd with her live performance of her single ‘Bulletproof’ and Natalia entertained the guests with her songs.
The Brass Barre
The Brass Barre displayed a myriad of provocative Rated X moves on the pole; the pole-dancing performance literally blew the crowd away.
For the full story and more pictures from this epic fashion event of the year, check out www.lofficielsingapore.com/rated-x-10th-anniversary-party/l-officiel-singapore-10-anniversary-rated-x-party-2017-event-pictures
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Our Pick of the Top 10 Red Carpet Worthy Dresses seen at the 2017 Oscars.
From Valentino crimson gown to Gucci chartreuse gown, Covered Asia presents the best red carpet dresses to hit Hollywood’s most glamorous night – the 89th Academy Award, otherwise known as the Oscars 2017. The Academy Awards is undoubtedly one of the most illustrious and high-shine elegance events in Hollywood’s history; the industry’s finest congregates at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles to deliver fiery arrivals on the red carpet. Here’s our Top 10 Red Carpet Worthy Dresses as seen on the red carpet of the 89th Academy Awards.
#1. Emma Stone
#2. Hailee Steinfeld
Queen of Pop (Hailee Seinfeld) floored the red carpet with a whimsical gown from Ralph & Russo.
#3. Dakota Johnson
Fifty Shades of Grey’s lead actress hits Hollywood’s most glamorous night in a Gucci chartreuse gown.
#4. Jessica Biel
Jessica Biel in Kaufmanfranco and Tiffany & Co.
#5. Ruth Negga
Ruth Nega delivers a fiery arrival in a Valentino crimson gown.
#6. Chrissy Teigen
Chrissy Teigen in Zuhair MuradCouture.
#7. Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson in custom Alberta Ferretti.
#8. Auli’i Cravalho
Auli’i Cravalho in Rubin Singer.
#9. Teresa Palmer
Teresa Palmer in Prada.
#10. Karlie Kloss
Lastly, Karlie Kloss hits the Dolby Theatre’s red carpet in a high-shine elegance wearing Stella McCartney gown.
Images: courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Vogue Australia
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Our 7 Date Night Picks this Valentine’s Day.
We are just 4 sleeps away from February 14th. Choosing that special place to impress can stress even the most street-smart individual, and we know just how important that perfect somewhere needs to be. Just in case you still haven’t yet quite decided where to on that special night, here is our 7 Valentine’s Day date night ideas that might just be the right kind of place you were looking for.
#1. Soak up the sun and teeter on the edge of the infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands
Enchant the love of your life with the city’s glittering skyline staggering at 57 level; teeter on the edge of the world with your Valentine and swim on the top of the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands.
Your valentine’s day date will be mesmerised by the beauty of a sunset amidst the cloud; float on top of the world and sip on champagnes together.
#2. Cruise around the beautiful coastline of Singapore
Dazzle your valentine’s day date with a boating trip cruising around the beautiful coastline of Singapore. Nothing beats the liberating sensation on the ocean; imagine you and your soulmate surrounded by tranquil waters, summer breeze and red wine.
Sunbathe on the yacht with your special someone and a favorite book in hand. Bewitching coastlines, horizons, islands and beaches are spectacular when appreciated from a distance out in the ocean.
#3. Enjoy multi-sensory culinary fine dining experience at Equinox Restaurant
For the couple who adores multi-sensory culinary experience and breathtakingviews, Equinox Restaurant makes a perfect pick for 14 February. Equinox offers a decadent menu highlighting Modern European cuisine.
A romantic 6-course Valentine’s Day dinner will be available at $236 ++ per person; your gastronomical adventure begins with Yellowtail Sashimi, Grilled Oyster Mushroom, Seared Foie, Spiced Monkfish and Elderflower Jelly. End off the enchanting evening with a Ivory Champagne Mousse served with a glass of Moët&ChandonVintage Rosé 2006 and a box of praline.
#4. Book a Staycation at Oasia Downtown Hotel
Surprise your partner with a staycation at Oasia Downtown Hotel; set against an urban landscape and covered by a lush green facade, the 27-storey iconic hotel commands breathtaking view of Singapore’s waterfront city.
Experience an aura of living, lush greenery, infinity pool like no other with your valentine’s date in Oasia Hotel Downtown, your respite in the city.
#5. Hop on a jet plane to your next destination – Sri Panwa Phuket Villas
Perched on one of the globe’s most beautiful coastlines, Sri Panwa Phuket Villas soar at 40 – 60 meters above the sea and it is at the very tip of the cape. Your valentine’s day date will be swept away by the panoramic ocean views and breathtaking sights overlooking the Andaman Sea.
Leave the hassle of the city life behind, grab a plane ticket with your love and jetset to Thailand (Phuket). For Valentine’s Day, indulge in an oasis of calm and luxury with panoramic ocean view and uninterrupted 360 degree ocean views. Nestle in the tropical rainforest, Sri Panwa Phuket Villascommands breathtaking views of the surround islands and Andaman Sea.
Sri Panwa Phuket Villas,88 Sakdidej Rd, Vichit, Muang, Chang Wat Phuket 83000, Thailand, p.(+66) 76 371 000
#6. Hit up the swankiest club in town – Suite 26
From the creators behind Filter Member’s Club, Mink, Royal Room, Dream, Fenix Room, Bang Bang, head down to Massive Collective’s latest crown jewel: Suite 26. Here, conspicuous consumption is the norm, and this would be perfect for the unconventional couple who would love to have a balling good time, hit up the swankiest club in town.
#7. Head for a dose of tropical sunshine away from the city life at The Tanjong Beach Club
Getaway from the city with your loved one for a day, laze by the infinity pool or indulge in a Tanjong Martini with truffle fries.
Nestled on one of Sentosa’s most exclusive powdery white sand beaches and tranquil waves is Tanjong Beach Club. It is a the perfect venue for a valentine’s day date for the couple who seeks for a dose of tropical sunshine away from the city life.
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Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for her.
Forego the cliché chocolates and Valentine’s Day gift ideas this year. Covered Asia’s editors have curated an array of Valentine’s Day gifts for the woman of your life. Whether she is an astute businesswoman who spends most her days slaying deals in the office, a sports junkie with an insatiable appetite for a wide range of workouts, or a princess at heart, these choices are certain to satisfy even the most discerning lady.
#7. Saint Laurent Quilted Leather Card Holder
Saint Laurent’s quilted leather card holder is a perfect gift for the girlfriend working in the corporate world. This sleek black card holder is ideal for keeping credit cards or business cards neatly tucked away. Equipped with card slots and center compartment, the quilted cardholder is crafted in Italy from black textured-leather.
Saint Laurent Quilted Leather Card Holder – USD$ 250 (Available at https://www.net-a-porter.com/ )
#6. Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Creme
Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Creme could ideally be your darling’s next best friend. Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Creme is designed to deliver intense moisture to her skin and restore skin’s beauty and natural radiance.
Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Creme – USD $87 (Available at http://www.chanel.com/)
#5. Gucci’s Padlock Bag
Adorned with faux pearls and studs, the Gucci’s Padlock bag is suspended from a polished gold chain. Enchant your darling with the dazzling label’s interlock and suede-lined interior.
Gucci’s Padlock Bag is priced at USD $1,850 (Available at www.gucci.com/)
#4. Kailijumei Lipstick
The Kailijumei Lipstick features a flower and gold specks encased within a clear jelly-like bullet. Akin to the enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast. Your special someone will be captivated by the aesthetically gorgeous lipstick. We note that the colour of the jelly lipstick changes according to your girlfriend’s temperature. Kailijumei Lipstick is currently retailing exclusively at Zalora.
Kailijumei Lipstick – S$29.90 is available at www.zalora.sg .
#3. Ethan K Handbag
Ethan K handbags are ideal for the girlfriend who feels she has it all. This gift is for the girl who is on the cusp of getting bored with brands and logos. The Ethan K handbag is definitely a unique commodity, as not everyone can get their hands on an Ethan K. Given the rarity of crocodile skins today, there are only a limited number of bags made each year.
Visit the Ethan K. official website at www.ethan-k.com.
#2. THEIA Active
For the girlfriend who adores sports, a high performance full-length legging with compression fabric will be the perfect gift for her. THEIA’s signature legging has intersecting mesh lines for strategic ventilation and a streamlined tapering effect. Feminine in appeal, yet a bold, eye-catching statement with high-performance functionality. THEIA’s signature leggings will be an ideal Valentine’s day gift for the active lady at heart.
THEIA Active – S$42 (Available at www.theiaactive.com )
#1. Nicole’s Flower
Make a statement of love this Valentine’s Day, with these exquisite Valentine’s Day Flower bouquet creations. Charm the love of your life and make her heart melt with a gorgeous looking flower bouquets from Nicole’s Flower.
Nicole’s Flowers is available at Oxley Bizhub, 61 Ubi Road 1, Block 71 Lobby 4 #08-41.
For more info, contact Nicole at (65) 8338 8511.
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Ethan K. Opens Up About Crafting Out His Own Artisanal Path in Luxury.
Meet Ethan Koh. – fashion designer, entrepreneur, and fourth generation member of the family behind one of the world’s leading crocodile tanneries – Heng Long Leather in Singapore. Though the daring entrepreneur hails from a family that specialises in supplying exotic skins to top luxury fashion houses such as Hermès and Louis Vuitton, Ethan Koh chose to stamp his own footprint in the world of luxury handbags and accessories with his own label – ETHAN K.
With his collection available at Malmaison in Singapore, Harrods in London, and SAKS Fifth Avenue in the U.S., ETHAN K. has undoubtedly won the hearts of many with a discerning appreciation for exotic leather skin handbags the world over. In paying tribute to where his journey as a luxury bag designer begun, Ethan was recently back in town to unveil his latest KITE Collection at the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore.
#UNCOVERED – ETHAN K. in Singapore
COVERED : Congrats on the unveiling of your new KITE Collection. The ETHAN K. brand has certainly come a long way since starting out with leathers at your father’s tannery.
ETHAN K. : Yeah, thank you. It is today a 4-generation business. My father took the business to a different dimension and it’s been a pleasure for me to carry on the family’s line of artisans.
On Artisans Born-and-Bred in Singapore
COVERED :So how does it feel to be a true-blue, born-and-bred Singaporean brand? Being a small and young country, you often hear “whispers on the street” about how local artisans are young, and lack that cultural background and traditions. Rebuking those “whispers”, how does it feel to be flying the Singapore flag high in that sense?
ETHAN K. : Singapore has definitely come very far too in just the last few decades, from being a fishing village to developing into a regional financial hub, but As such, I see ETHAN K. as something more than just handbags. We want to share our unique culture and way of life with the world. It is because we are a small country with many different races living together, that we have come to enjoy a unique entrenched culture. This is how I was inspired as a kid. All of the beautiful colours that I have in my designs are inspired by Asian fruits, plants and spices. They are all unique to Singapore. Look closer at my designs and you’ll even see Asian fruits like mangosteen, jackfruit, or durian on the clasp of my bags.
When I mention the word Singapore to many people, they always mention the chewing gum ban. I instead tell them that we’re not just known for that, nor our efficient business structure nor casinos, and that we do have artisans and many different talents here as well. This is all possible because we are such a unique country. The last 10 years have been about building the nation, and I foresee the next 10 years being about sharing our talents and unique ways of life with the world.
On His Inspiration
COVERED :I see. In terms of design inspiration, is there afamous or iconic designer that you have looked up to over the years?
ETHAN K. : Well, one of my favourite bags is the Doha bag. I am based in London, so my creations are a mix of the East and West. In Paris, I once met a Qatari Princess and she was wearing a necklace. I saw her necklace and was inspired. A lot of my bags are inspired by my encounters with people. I also think functionality is important. For example, there’s a special long chain on this bag that you can turn, and you can add another chain such that it becomes a cross body bag. This is one of our bags that are selling extremely well. But also as you mention, the family story is extremely important to us. Colonial history and architecture, especially the presence of mosaic tiles have inspired us as well. Take, for instance, another unique clasp that we have invented in the last few months. It is reminiscent of our architecture in herald hill and our old family home.
Other than that, a lot of my bags are very whimsical. One was inspired by a French bulldog, owned by a customer in Los Angeles who loves to bring her French bulldog everywhere. My whimsical animal collection is inspired by childhood fairytales of Hans Christian Anderson.
On That Milestone, Breakthrough Moment
COVERED : Any significant milestones or hallmarks where say, somebody prominent recognised your talent?
ETHAN K. : Well, I would say that I have been very fortunate up till today. When I had just graduated in fashion about 4 years ago from Central St Martins, and was on the way to a conference in Marrakesh, I met a lady on the plane. She saw my bag, was very excited and told me to design a bag for her. This lady, unknown to me at the time, turned out to be the Chief Merchant at Harrods. Following our chance meet, I then started drawing out more designs, and she began ordering a few more bags from me. She subsequently became the President of Saks Fifth Avenue in the U.S., where ETHAN K. is also available at today.
COVERED :Oh wow, that is quite a story.
ETHAN K. : Yes, I would say my career has been like a kismet. As with every entrepreneur, we all start out with a dream in hope that it becomes a reality, but I think visualisation is very important. Just last month I was having a drink with my friend at 5 Hertford Street in London when someone told me that Elizabeth Hurley needed a new bag. I subsequently went into Gucci, bought a shirt, and went into a club. And, at that club, I bumped into her. Elizabeth Hurley ordered a couple of pieces from me. So I think that if you have the creativity, and you are open to what the world brings to you, things happen.
About that Upcoming Men’s Line and Upcoming Events
COVERED : Amazing how opportunities come to those who are prepared to chase their dreams. So also, I heard a little rumour that you are about to launch a men’s line soon. Could you tell us more about that?
ETHAN K. : Yup, we plan that this line will be launched in 6 months, and at Harrods. I think that whilst in the past it was largely only women who love bags and colours, in the last few years, men all around the world have started to become increasingly sophisticated. In the last 10 years, luxury was about a status symbol. In the next 10 years though, I think luxury will be about expression beyond just a status symbol. I think the best way for men to express themselves is through beautiful messengers, surpassing just a canvas messenger and the monogram that we have today, to more of a bespoke experience. Because luxury is not just material, it is also an experience.
COVERED : In Singapore, any plans for an upcoming event presentation or even a show?
ETHAN K. : Absolutely, we have a unique way and theme every year. So, within the next 6 months we will be having a special event with an art gallery, because our customers are also art collectors.
On What Aspiring Designers Need to Know
COVERED : One last question – any words of encouragement for aspiring bag designers or designers in Singapore in general?
ETHAN K. : I think that first of all, it is very important to have a dream. Second of all, you have to be crazy enough to pursue it. Singapore is such a safe country, I mean, it’s so well situated. We have to be thankful for where we are, dare to bring different, and be different from others. We shouldn’t be afraid to express our opinions and work hard for it. There is no shortcut to success and most importantly, you have to value your opinion and know your customer.
Connect with ETHAN K.
Photo Credits: All photos in this story are owned by COVERED Asia unless otherwise credited.
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Get ready to disco on at the Marc Jacobs & MTV Resort ’17 party at Cherry Discotheque.
The 80’s was a defining era of non-stop glamour, music, television, and culture. Fast forward to three decades later, Marc Jacobs recently unveiled an 80’s kitsch Marc Jacobs & MTV capsule collection as part of its Resort ’17 offering.
As we arrive at the second weekend of January ’17, we’re getting our fav pair of party footwear on, as we begin to countdown the hours till the Marc Jacobs & MTV party at Cherry Discotheque, Singapore begins.
The brainchild of Earn Chen and Hasnor Sidik, Cherry Discotheque in Singapore evokes a nostalgic 80’s vibe, with neon signs and a chequered dancefloor adding to its retro architecture. Located at the York Hotel, Cherry Discotheque offers cultural-savvy clubgoers with a top-notch blend of Hip Hop sounds. Not to mention, there are our old-school favourites – Pacman and Street Fighter arcade games to fill in those “time-out’ moments at the disco..
The Marc Jacobs & MTV Resort ’17 Capsule Collection
Bright “electric” neon accents, animal graphic prints, and military-styled silhouettes are emphasised in the 2017 Resort Collection. Acid-washed denim jackets and leather coats come adorned with embellishments and embroidered patches.
I Want My MTV
The collection also features statement tees and sweatshirts with the iconic MTV logo on front and centre.
Bags from the Marc Jacobs Resort ’17 Collection
An ongoing highlight in every Marc Jacobs’ collection, the Resort ’17 collection will also showcase a range of youthful and vibrant range of printed patchwork shoulder bags with metal hardware chains and embellished backpacks.
Photo Credits: All photos in this article are provided by Marc Jacobs unless otherwise stated.
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Put your Best Heels Forward this New Year with our Cinderella-worthy List of Haute Couture Heels of the moment.
Cinderella is a fairytale ‘testimony’ that a new pair of heels can transform your life. This season, we want you to live that fairytale. Our crew has put together a 2017 Covered Asia guide to this season’s most coveted haute couture heels of the moment to get you off on the right foot. From Christian Louboutin, Ralph & Russo, Sophia Webster, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Saint Laurent, Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo.
“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” – Marilyn Monroe
#8 Saint Laurent
#7 Sophia Webster
#6 Christian Louboutin
#5 Ralph & Russo
#4 Dolce & Gabbana
#3 Manolo Blahnik
#1 Jimmy Choo
“If you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true. One shoe can change your life.” – Cinderella
Get it now! See something you like and want it now? Write to us and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We might well be able to get it for you.
Price Note: Prices listed are correct at time of publishing.
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#UNCOVERED – Turning Heads: In Conversation with Yousef Akbar
He has dressed celebrities the world over including Kimbra, Jessica Mauboy, Kelly Osbourne, and most recently Chrissy Teigen. A former sportsperson turned fashion designer with a penchant for challenging the convention of fashion design, Yousef Akbar is undoubtedly one of the most promising young designers to watch in 2017.
Yousef Akbar: The Resort 2017 Collection
COVERED: Tell us about your brand, what does it stands for a and what was your inspiration behind your Resort 2017 collection?
YOUSEF AKBAR: This collection is inspired by the concept of sustainable and socially responsible couture; it supports women in the developing world, such as the Middle East and India. It offers them opportunities to work and support local artisans and dying crafts.
The Resort 2017 collection celebrates the courage and strength of women through times of adversity. Growing up in the Middle East, I have witnessed women being oppressed in a male dominated society. It has had a huge impact on me.
“I dedicate this collection to all women – the widows, the orphans, the teenagers fighting to get an education, the sexually and physically abused, the brave women fighting and standing up for their rights, revolting against their cultures, challenging the norm in their fight for equality and freedom, by shedding a light on their pain, suffering and struggles they face in their lives.” -Yousef Akbar
YOUSEF AKBAR: I have researched on revolutions, wars and the destructive effect on cities as well as individuals. I came across multiple stories of women fleeing their homes and becoming refugees. Many whom cross miles on foot and facing death in hope of finding a better life.
Inspired by these brave women, the main focus of this collection is to challenge convention, by taking classic feminine silhouettes, deconstructing and then reinventing them using innovative and unconventional cutting techniques.
On Pursuing a Career in Fashion
COVERED: What inspired you to take the leap of faith to pursue a career in fashion?
YOUSEF AKBAR: I would not call it a leap of faith. I do not believe that I took any leaps or anything like that. I simply did what was natural to me and what felt right to do. It was all kind of by chance. For as long as I remember, I was always interested in art, painting and sculpting. I always dream of being an artist. I like to dress differently. I just loved clothes. I was always interested in what people were wearing and desired to be “cool” like them. For years, I remembered being so frustrated by not being able to find anything that I really like in the shops.
YOUSEF AKBAR: I would design my own clothes and deal with local tailors. Unfortunately, they hated the extra work involved in my clothes. They wanted to do conventional everyday blazers, shirts, etc. They would either cancel on me half way or refuse my request. I got fed up. During my last semester of my Master’s degree, I decided to search for courses to make clothes so that I can literally learn how to make a jacket for myself.
On Falling in Love with Fashion & Womenswear
YOUSEF AKBAR: I was good at drawing and illustration; I put a portfolio together and applied to TAFE Ultimo Fashion Design Studio in New South Wales, Australia. I could not believe that I was accepted into the school. It is funny because I remembered doing the first assignment where we had to design a few women looks. I was forced to do it as I was not interested in women to wear at the start. The teacher told me that menswear was coming down the track. I asked about tailoring and I was heartbroken to find out that it is a second year subject. I could not believe that I had to pass the first year and make it that long doing womenswear assignments.
YOUSEF AKBAR: Gradually, I was falling in love with the whole process. I started to really get into womenswear. By the end of the first year, I could not imagine myself doing anything else. It was the perfect medium for myself to express myself and share my point of view. I also enjoyed the technical aspect of it. From draping to experimenting to finding technical solutions to creative challenges.
On his journey from a National Tenpin Bowler to becoming a Fashion Designer
COVERED: Would you like to tell us more about yourself and your journey from a national bowler to a fashion designer? Did you feel there were any road blocks that you faced along your journey?
YOUSEF AKBAR: No road blocks. I believe if you put your mind and heart into something: nothing can stop you. It is all in the frame of mind that you have. In every challenge, there is a new lesson and an unexpected opportunity.
Of course, there were restraints such as financial restraints, time and manpower to help my vision come to life. Nevertheless, it is nothing out of the ordinary. I still believe with limitations, creativity flourishes, in a very strange way I see having everything at your finger tips can be paralyzing having all the choices and freedom is like having absolutely nothing.
YOUSEF AKBAR: I still bowl. It is still a very big part of my life and I believe that everyone will see me bowling internationally soon. Bowling and fashion are the two things that truly make me feel so happy; I feel blessed to not have only one thing but two things that I am passionate about.
On Chrissy Teigen & the American Music Awards
COVERED: When Chrissy Teigen wore your dress to the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, what was the first thought that came to your mind when you woke up to the news?
YOUSEF AKBAR: I thought to myself, “I couldn’t believe how unlucky I was for someone to design a near identical dress, and Chrissy Teigen wore it.”
I could not believe that she wore the dress. However, I recalled that the stylist, Monica Rose, took the dress from my PR showroom in LA, and it all clicked. I was overjoyed.
Chrissy Teigen at the American Music Awards
COVERED: This one’s for aspiring designers out there hoping to be discovered – How did Chrissy Teigan ‘talent spot’ your dress?
YOUSEF AKBAR: I wouldn’t say Chrissy Teigen talent spotted me. Many designers would work with PR companies who specialize in PR, media, etc. Stylist such as Monica Rose, dresses many major celebrities in Hollywood. She was styling Chrissy Teigen for a few events including the American Music Awards. Monica Rose will head to different PR showrooms and check out what is new and exciting, and would pull pieces for their clients. In my case, NIGHTCAP PR who is my PR in LA did such a fantastic job of targeting the right people for my collection. I am grateful to be working with a great team.
Words of wisdom to aspiring fashion designers
COVERED: What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
YOUSEF AKBAR: Believe in yourself. Believe that you can do it. There will be many who will try and stop you. Use that to motivate yourself to work harder. Do it for yourself. Do it because you love it not for any other reason. Be true to yourself. Never try and please anyone. Lastly, be nice to everyone.
COVERED: Moving forward, where do you envision yourself in 5 years? Will you be planning for a fashion show for your next collection? Which countries are you planning to expand your fashion line into?
YOUSEF AKBAR: With fashion the way it is now and with the internet, I dont have any specific place I would like to expand in. However, I hope to strengthen my brands position, create a strong identity, and expand in general globally. I hope to make a difference in terms of contributing back to the people locally and in developing communities, who in many cases have great talent and skills, and rare crafts that are rare and dying, that needs to be supported.
For more on Yousef Akbar and his collection, check out www.yousefakbar.com
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Gucci x “Trouble Andrew” – The Gucci Ghost
Recently available at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, is the much anticipated “Gucci Ghost” capsule collection. The collection is the brainchild of two veritable artisans in their own right; Gucci’s Creative Director, Alessandro Michele and former Olympic Snowboarder/ Street Artist, Trevor Andrew. Gucci Ghost is a synchronized duet of quintessential Italian luxury label with the cornerstones of graffiti art and the collection constructs a signature medley of quirky vintage infused with historical references.
A fortuitous style legend was born on the eve of Halloween – Gucci Ghost. Trevor Andrew, the man behind Gucci Ghost, was an ex-Olympic snowboarder who created an alter ego by dressing up as a ghost using his Gucci bedsheets on Halloween. The athlete with a peculiar obsession with the Italian luxury label, Gucci, slit a pair of holes through his Gucci bedsheets to create his Halloween costume. As Andrew strides down the street of the Big Apple, New Yorkers termed him as The Gucci Ghost.
Impassioned by his interpretation of the timeless Gucci logo and the insatiable desire to explore new frontiers, Trevor Andrew (#troubleandrew) went jaunting through New York City (NYC) with a spray paint can as his weapon of choice to cover the Big Apple’s walls and dumpsters with his version of the iconic logo.
The intrepid NYC-based graffiti artist posted the images of his rendition of Gucci’s double G logo pattern onto his personal Instagram using the hashtag #guccighost. To his bewilderment, his artworks were well-received and attracted 26,000 followers with 3,000 posts.
#TroubleAndrew’s audacity to choose the road less travelled and break new grounds found himself in an unlikely spot: Gucci’s Milan headquarters. The Gucci Ghost was neither arrested for vandalism nor sued for copyright infringement. Instead, his works captivated the attention of Gucci’s Creative Director – Alessandro Michele.
In an unanticipated twist of fate, an invitation by Alessandro Michele was extended to the ex-Olympic snowboarder to customize a capsule collection of Gucci’s next product line. The debut of Gucci Ghost by Trevor Andrew was designed with a singular vision of constructing pieces that are deeply rooted in individuality and adorned with graffiti-style flips of the label’s double-G logo.
Perhaps, the destruction of luxury is in fact, the driving vehicle that makes NYC-based graffiti pieces so covetable and satisfying for the wearer. Toting a black caviar leather bag may be gratifying, but carrying a bag with a purity ravaged with a vandalized dripping “Double Gs” puts it to a league of its own. The art of vandalizing a treasured piece that is so covetable and pure, takes it to a whole different level. The result is the evocation of a street ethos; “It is my world and I will do whatever I want”.
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