Sunshine State of Mind

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Photographs by dear mom : )

Vintage biker jacket, Zara top and skirt, Topshop boots.

Everyone in the city, including myself, seems a bit annoyed by the unexpected chilly and long winter in Hong Kong. When having no clue about what to wear, I always go for a pop of colour and a simple pencil skirt. It’s reassuring to know there’s always something that can work the magic. Hopefully the weather will get warmer in no time, and we can all kick start the new season very soon!

From Geneva with love.

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IMG_0563Photographs by Charles Mugel

Coat, skirt, and gloves by COS, Zara bag and Topshop boots.

An outfit post attempt from Geneva. After two years of dreadfully humid Hong Kong winters, I finally got to spend some time abroad during this festive time of the year (with a real Christmas tree and a proper gift exchange session which lasted for 3 hours.) While enjoying some time away from Hong Kong, I realised that I’ve been running this blog for three full years. No sentimental stuff (since I didn’t actually become famous because of the blog) but I do feel grateful that the memories of the past three years of my life have been carefully recorded and preserved. And I’m truly grateful for those who still stops by every now and then.

2014 is about gratitude – hopefully.

Ports 1961 Spring Summer Collection

PORTS03Powerful display of Ports 1961 Spring Summer collection at ArtisTree.

PORTS02The mid-thigh length boyfriend shirt is a tribute to the iconic blouse the brand was built on.

PORTS04Designer Fiona Cibani draws on panoramic photographic vistas of desert, sun and sky to express the free spirit of the collection.

PORTS07Drop shoulder satin top matched with double lace A-line shirt – Ports 1961′s essential sporty femininity.

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PORTS01Soothing desert color palette of sand, off-white and champagne.

PORTS05 Vivid color palette and again the desert landscape.

Ports 1961 launched their Spring Summer 2014 collection in Hong Kong last week at ArtisTree. The brand created an almost museum exhibition experience for visitors and for a second I believed those are beautiful art works on display.

The Women’s Collection designed by Fiona Cibani was inspired by Michaelangelo Antonion’s 1970 film Zabriskie Point. The designer draws on panoramic photographic vistas of desert, sun and sky to express the free spirit of adventure with her Spring/ Summer2014 Collection. The entire collection seems to be made for someone like me, the sporty cut, the really feminine dresses and skirts and the beautiful heeled sandals – can’t wait to see the new season in store! Check out more about their Spring Summer collection here.

The A-Line

HW01HW03HW02COS jumper and mid-length skirt, Hong Kong boutique bomber jacket, Topshop necklace and boots.

Excuse that awful look on my face. It is very difficult to model with 95% of your body covered in loose-fitted clothes, that’s why I put all that intensity in my facial expression. Apologies if you feel threatened for a moment. Consider this my Halloween look (coz I’m not gonna do one!)
I’ve been looking for the perfect skirt to go with my platform utility boots and my bomber jacket to create (in my humble opinion) the look of the season. It’s all about the length and the shape of the skirt (shorter than maxi, longer than mid-calf, and has to be A-line). I got mine from COS (aka the company which stole my fashion wishlist) and you may find yours here, here and here or consult Harper’s Bazaar’s chicest ways to wear the midi.

Special Report: Milan Fashion Week Spring 2014

By Mercedes Hutton | Fashion Editor

Milan is the third port-of-call on the fashion week circuit and traditionally a time for the luminaries of Italian fashion to add a touch of decadence and drama to proceedings. The fantasy and flourishes are all there for Spring/Summer 2014, but the pomp and circumstance have to a large degree stepped aside, allowing younger talents to join the major players on the global stage, albeit in a chorus role. For the moment at least.

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SPAGHETTI STRAPS

That other staple of nineties existence, spaghetti straps, made quite an impression on Milan, popping up everywhere from Giorgio Armani to Just Cavali. The majority of them were attached to satin slips which look to be enjoying a triumphant comeback as a piece of clothing in their own right. Italy being Italy though, there was not a plaid shirt or threadbare cardigan in sight; these spaghetti slips are grown-up and feminine, ranging from demure at Max Mara to downright sexy Dolce & Gabbana.

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SPORTY

Athleticism reigned supreme for another season in Milan, with designers incorporating sporty shapes, fabrics and cuts into their collections. The devil is in the detail for Spring/Summer 2014, with a diversified sports luxe aesthetic; Just Cavali did this with white-lace racer-back dresses while Aquiliano.Rimondi mixed it up by embellishing the sleeves of a cropped neoprene sweater. Whichever way it is achieved, it was all over Milan and is guaranteed to hit a high street near you before too long.

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FASHION AS ART

Aquiliano.Rimondi led the field in another of Milan’s key trends for Spring/Summer 2014 too, fashion as art. The two creative endeavours have often seemed intrinsically related, so why not make it unequivocally so? At least that seems to be the thinking behind Aquiliano.Rimondi and Prada, both of whom sent out collections emblazoned with the art of others. The former design duo opted for Paul Gauguin’s rich, evocative images of Tahitian women, whilst Miuccia Prada went down the contemporary route, commissioning six emerging street artists from around the world to design the imagery for her breathtaking collection. Although no other designers committed to the fashion-as-art look quite as wholeheartedly, Fausto Puglisi or Dolce & Gabbana’s frieze-esque prints or MSGM’s bold use of pattern show just how connected the two disciplines are.

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PALAZZO TROUSERS

The last trend to emerge at Milan Fashion Week is decidedly Italian, at least in name if not in nature; palazzo trousers. These super wide-legged trousers have been showing their face on a few occasions recently, but this is the first time they’ve been invited to the party. A welcome break from the hegemony of the skinny cigarette pant, unless you’re six foot tall these are not the easiest things to wear, although Marni in particular gets 10 points for the chicest pants of the presentation.

In between Seasons

inbetween01inbetweens02inbetween03_1Zara heels, blazer and top; Topshop pants, Massimo Dutti bracelet.

Weather in Hong Kong has cooled down significantly these days. While my colleagues are still trying the grasp the last bit of funny, I am busy rearranging my fall winter wardrobe. A few things from the summer, my white blazer, and wedges, are just too pretty to be tuck into the storage room now. And my old camouflage shit from last year has again become items of desires thanks to Christoph Kane.  As I get older, the satisfaction that comes with revitalizing an old piece become far higher than wearing something brand new every season.

I’d like to bring your attention to Jup Yeah, a local initiative dedicated to extend the lifespan of stuff by finding a new owner for them. JupYeah (meaning ‘taking stuff’ in Cantonese) is an online and real life swap platform where people share unwanted things and find values from others’ old stuff. Jup Yeah believe this little sharing action is essential to reduce waste and over-consumption. More importantly, it makes our world a better place.

In collaboration with Very Hong Kong, Jup Yeah Tai Tat Tei (details to be announced soon) is here to inspire the entire city with their spirit of sharing, to revive the very much missed Tai Tat Tei culture, JupYeah is throwing the city’s first free-admission swap event at the Kwuntong Promenade. For more information, please visit Jup Yeah’s Facebook page!

Special Report: London Fashion Week Spring 2014

By Mercedes Hutton | Fashion Editor

After New York comes London, which is as eclectic and quirky as its predecessor is cool, calm and collected. Home to eccentric-style royalty Vivienne Westwood, as well as more recent graduates Meadham Kirchhoff or Christopher Kane, what NYFW lacks in experimentalism, London more than makes up for in personality and hard-edged street-savvy style culture.

That being said, there is often a dichotomy at the very heart of British fashion; a perpetual tug-of-war between the idiosyncratic and the efficient, between fun and functionality. Not next spring there isn’t, which is not to say that London Fashion Week has lost its spark, not in the slightest, it’s just that even the most off-kilter designers seem to have embraced a touch of romance, turning out garments fit for a contemporary English rose; beautiful and with tonnes of attitude.

 

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IRIDESCENT

Anyone still hoping to live out their fairytale fantasy against the backdrop of modern Britain, or anywhere for that matter, could do worse than adopt next season’s inclination for anything iridescent. The likes of Christopher Kane, Tom Ford and House of Holland all appropriated some sheen in their collections, on pants, shirts, skirts, you name it, and all to great effect. To shine bright yourself, remember less is more (most of the time) and wear with pride.

 

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EMBELLISHMENT & APPLIQUE

Embellishments and appliqué were everywhere too, from Burberry Prorsum’s sparsely adorned raspberry pink coat that conjures images of Edwardian England via a 1950s country garden complete with rhinestone flowers, to Roksanda Ilincic’s bomber embellished with quirky hand-cut plastic petals, via Temperley London, Ryan Lo and Mary Katranzou. Come spring 2014, as the flowers blossom in the parks, so too will fashion become awash with an attention to detail that adds character and depth to any outfit.

 

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FLORAL PRINT

It wouldn’t be fashion week without a prominent print to discuss and for Spring/Summer 2014, rather unsurprisingly considering the prevailing romantic tendency, it’s floral. But not tiny and twee floral, big and bold and graphic floral that prefers evenings in the city to pastoral country strolls. Everyone, from Antonio Berardi and Mulberry right through to Preen and even J.W. Anderson, worked floral into their collections, which can only mean one thing. Floral will be big. And bold. And graphic next season.

 

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SKIRTS & JUMPERS

Now to a look that has already started to take hold, if you’ve cast a glance at any of the street style snaps from London and New York then you’ll have seen it; the skirt and jumper ensemble. This one is something of a no-brainer, an inversion of the smart top/casual bottoms scenario that has been around for what feels like forever. And about time the smart bottom-half/casual top-half became fashion lingua franca too, it’s easy to do and it looks great. Just ask Richard Nicoll, Christopher Kane or Roksanda Ilincic, who are just some of the many designers to work this trend. For extra kudos, play peekaboo with your pants through an English lace skirt à la Burberry.

 

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BOMBER

Taking a slight departure from all this fantasy and romanticism is the final key piece from London Fashion Week, the bomber jacket. Continuing fashion’s current obsession with sports luxe athleticism, not to mention a little bit of nineties nostalgia, the bomber provides an effortlessly cool cocoon silhouette and a welcome break from all those blossoms, although it looks like we will be back to putting our arms into our sleeves next season (well, we’ll have to wait and see what the fashionistas have to say about that). Erdem and Christopher Raeburn both presented excellent examples of this look, whilst Jonathan Saunders, one of the designers of the moment, just couldn’t let those flowers go, emblazoning a huge one on the front of his, certain to be much-coveted, jacket.

Roger Thyvane Ouk | Gentlemen Style Series

Text by Kadri Karolin Kõuts | Features Editor
Photos by Sybil Kot | Editor-in-Chief


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Maison Martin Margiela double breasted jacket, Balenciaga pocket square, tailored shirt: Tailored shirt, Void cufflinks, Liverano braces, Eric Raisina Brooch

It was unsure whether it’s the natural charm of his Cambodian descent or the whooping orange-colored suspenders, but Roger Thyvane Ouk brings a certain feeling of warmth into the otherwise very sleek and somber Wow Suite on the 37th floor of W Hong Kong. While our team admires the panoramic view to the harbor, Roger carefully adds a finishing accessory or two to his outfit, occasionally seeking for a hint of approval from his beautiful wife and business partner – Jade. What is certain, though, is the incredible dynamic between the multi-talented couple behind Thyvane, a menswear brand dedicated to ties and bow ties that salute diverse cultures and personal style.

After many years of practicing law in Melbourne, the first-generation Australian decided to follow his lifelong passion and swap jurisdiction for fashion design. Although Roger has now distanced himself from the courtrooms, he continues to ponder with the idea of authority and conflict by transcending narratives of the past to a more contemporary shape and form. Having designed a collection called “Promise & Power”, Roger nonchalantly refers to Terracotta warriors of the Qin dynasty, the Thirty Years’ War and the ever-so peculiar dressing habits of Louis XVI when talking about the rather hostile evolution of the tie.

With an intention to create a dialogue between the product and the customer, Thyvane explores a broader concept in fashion rather than just designing a traditional line of accessories. Roger and Jade Ouk are eager to work across disciplines and pursue collaborations with architects, artists and creative minds alike to push the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not.

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Tailored jacket, Henry Bucks pocket square, Calvin Klein T shirt and H&M shorts.

What is the essence of fashion for you?

Fashion in a way elevates me to another plane. I think it has the ability to move people emotionally, and psychologically, to another level. There is truth and fiction in fashion and you have the ability to control that. It interests me what other people choose to wear and why, the meaning behind that. And it’s because I’m more of a visual person.

Where do you get your inspiration?

When I dress up, I’m inspired by other people a lot of the time. And then there’s an element of wanting to bring something unique and personal to the outfit. What I wear and what I design is sometimes inspired by different themes. What is consistent is that I draw a lot from the composition put together by balance and beauty that Mother Nature is able to strive.

Do you follow any fashion blogs?

I follow The Wanderlister, The Sartorialist, Facehunter, GQ Style. I’m not there to look for inspiration, but just to see what the present trend is. They give you a good sense of what you could wear to fit in. I’m drawn towards historical context more than individuals. I may want to go back into the 17th or 19th century costume and see what people are wearing. People that I really admire are those that I don’t know – the unknown – who are able to carry something with such flare and character and poise, and who seem to be dressing more for themselves than for anyone else.

Do you hunt for brands?

There are certain brands, which are renowned for making particular items very well. The Italian suspenders I wear – the quality of that product exceeds a lot of others that I’ve worn in the past. So there are times when people are seeking brands because they begin to understand the craftsmanship behind it. But there are times when quality doesn’t play a role and it’s just the brand itself. Personally I would never shop based on the brand.

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Roger06Roger07Tailored suit,  PYE shirt, Louis Vuitton glasses, vintage pocket square Pocket square, Henry Bucks cufflinks and Custom-made Shoes.

What makes a woman look good?

Putting clothes aside, the first thing is confidence and that doesn’t necessarily mean having to be loud or flamboyant, or wearing the latest trends, but I sense that the person is very comfortable in their skin. That goes for both men and women I think. It’s the attitude that you bring to a room because that can have a greater impact than what you actually wear. But assuming you’re walking into the room with that, what will set you apart… I’m just thinking back on the iconic women Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren and Jackie Onassis. What they bring into the room is elegance in style. Timeless beauty. So what makes a woman look good…The ability to wear something with poise.

 Do you like the fashion scene in Hong Kong?

I think for men, there’s real refinement and conservatism. It seems that a lot of men do pay attention to detail and follow trends quite rigorously. There isn’t yet however that avant-garde, adventurous culture that I’ve found in other places. But Hong Kong men are increasingly taking more risks particularly in the area of accessories, which is really exciting. People tend to be very neat here, in terms of what they wear within the business and working community. It’s clean and sharp, but there is that convergence towards the mainstream.

 Tell us about the transition from being a full-time lawyer to becoming a designer du jour.

I’ve always had a fascination with fashion. When I was in the university, studying law, I participated in a mock board and I had to look for a tie to wear for these moot proceedings. I’d been preparing a number of months for this event in a real court, but it wasn’t a real trial. And I couldn’t find any ties that suited my personality or which spoke to me, or reflected the historic cultural context, which I was from. So making a tie for that event kick started everything.

I’ve always loved fabrics and things of texture. After that, I began looking for materials that I thought reflected me and that other people would appreciate. A lot of people were asking for the tie, they wanted a copy. I’ve always designed outside of my work career. There’s a strong creative side to my personality and it feels really good and energetic and positive when I create. I love the law; I love what it stands for. At the same time, it’s very challenging. It gives you a real discipline how to tackle particular arguments. It brings out thinking to my fashions in terms of wanting to really analyze why I’m doing something and the purpose behind it. On the other hand, fashion influences the law in a way that people are taking a different approach to things. In some respects, it makes me more open-minded.

Roger10Roger11 Rex jacket, Tailored pocket square, Zara Shir, Claude Maus Jeans, Magnani shoes, vintage scarf, David Neil Ring, Hollywood Vintage bracelets.

What does Thyvane stand for?

The core of the brand is about reflecting, about a dialogue. It’s about understanding the person that is beyond what they are wearing. Thyvane’s item strikes a conversation or an enquiry, so it can be anything. We started with neckties because they’re quite conventional but also common items for men to wear. It comes from a specific historical context and we’re able to imbue that with a different meaning depending on the type of fabric or the design. That’s what is really fascinating and interesting.

Tell us more about the design process.

 It’s a combination. Sometimes there’s an idea that I have in mind and I’m inspired by nature or animals or particular architectural forms. Then I create something that’s influenced by that. Which means writing it down, drawing an image, finding the appropriate colors and then sourcing fabric to match, thinking about the silhouette that would reflect the idea. Other times the cloths or fabrics themselves inspire me. They move me to want to do something with them. With some of our products, we look for the best method of creating it. Our latest collection is handmade in Australia. For other products, sometimes a machine-made one, you’re able to achieve the consistency you wouldn’t get with a handmade product. And we go down that line. In the end of the day, we’re looking to deliver the best product.

What does “Promise & Power” represent?

 When I moved to Hong Kong 2.5 years ago, I noticed that a lot of people had come to the city from all corners of the world and they were drawn to the allure of a promise of wealth, of opportunity. Whatever it is they thought that Hong Kong could help them deliver. And that’s the promise. The power aspect of it is that ties have always been associated with military adornment and royalty. So the collection sort of explores people’s desires in fashion, not necessarily ties, and this notion from the commercials and advertisements that promises them this lifestyle, which has elements of power.

I’m very excited about this collection. This is an instance where I was actually inspired by the fabric itself. We found snakeskin that feels like tissue paper. We’re also using lace, which is just amazing. Men should be able to wear lace too, so I came up with a lace tie for men. We had to go through a number of prototypes because it’s challenging to make a bow tie from such a delicate material. It has lining and interlining and requires a special technique. When we go back in history, lace ties were the like the pinnacle of the tie. All the royal monarchs wore lace cravats. Back then; people had a hundred ways how to tie it, now we only have 3 or 4 ways. It’s interesting, if you go way back, the time men were giving themselves in terms of dedicating to their looks and the types of things they were wearing, you don’t see it these days. Outfits used to have a lot of detail, a lot of embroidery. Now it’s mostly associated with women. When does it shift along the line?

 There have been so many advances in technology in fabrics, in cut and design, but ties have remained the same. I find it really fascinating. It’s interesting to see people’s reactions. There have always been checks, particular colors or paisley. What’s going to be the reaction if they’re not that? What I’m saying by beginning with ties and bow ties is look, I am part of the system, I studied law, I have a tertiary education, but at the same time I’m not part of the system. It’s not a complete rejection, but I want to reflect more of what I call is modern and have that presented. Admitting to a system is not reflecting who I am. I want to recognize the alternative backgrounds, so it’s becomes a dialogue. There’s more to you than meets the eye. And I think that’s really nice in fashion, when people begin to recognize more than just the way it looks. I’d like to evoke something more than just a casual conversation. So you’ve chosen to wear that. Why? Can you tell more about it?

 

Plans for the future?

We have an online store where you can purchase directly. We’ll release the new collection shortly as well. In addition to stocking at Kapok, we’re hoping to give our potential customers the opportunity to feel and see the products by stocking at other places as well. Ultimately, it would be nice to open our own store, a retail space, so we can meet our customers directly. I may also explore doing limited runs of items such as shirts and jackets. It’s all about being able to have a lot fun while creating something.

Do you have any final tips for our male readers?

I have a lot of men come up to me and say, ‘I’d really like to wear that but I just don’t know whether I could’. So what I’m getting from them is that there’s this underlying urge to want to do something, but something is holding them back, or restricting them from doing it. I tell them to just go ahead and do it! They’re worried about what people would think, they’re not sure how to style it… The first step – just do it and see how it feels.

A lot of men also say that they don’t know how to tie a bow tie. This is one of the most exciting things about this accessory – the fact that you go home with a product and you’ll learn how to do something. There aren’t many products that give you that sense of satisfaction. I remember when I first tied a bow tie and it felt great! The energy that you spend dedicating yourself to doing something makes the product that much more interesting and valuable. Another great thing about bow ties is that you don’t necessarily need to tie it up. There’s a certain relaxed look of having them untied.

 

 

 

The One to Watch

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Photos by dear mom.

Classic Oxford Lady by Daniel Wellington, Zara dress, blazer & bag, Topshop boots.

I never considered myself the classical type. Perhaps the word “classic” is so overused in PR messages that it has lost part of its meanings to me. Daniel Wellington’s interpretation of classic, in contrary, is unpretentious and approachable. Its clean and light design made wearing wristwatch relevant to my high digitized life, and the colorful interchangeable nato straps make perfect fashion accessories for those who changes her mind every five minutes. The beautifully designed wrist watches are offered at affordable price points ( generally between USD135 to USD 229). Click on the link to find out more about the story behind the brand and its selection of men’s and women’s watches and accessories.


*Disclaimer: The Classic Oxford Lady watch was gifted by Daniel Wellington. However this review reflects my true opinion on the brand.

Special Report: New York Fashion Week Spring 2014

By Mercedes Hutton | Fashion Editor

Fast becoming more and more cosmopolitan, with designers from more than 30 countries presenting their collections at this season’s showcase, NYFW is also home to those all American heroes that have dominated the industry stateside for as long as anyone remembers; Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Diane Von Furstenberg to name but a few. And it is their combined aesthetics, minimal, sporty and above all, wearable, that tend to dominate proceedings.

The same is true of Spring/Summer 2014, which as seen from New York is bursting with youthful, happy, confident styles that speak to your inner teen whilst at the same time appeasing your inner grown-up too.

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Whether or not you are ready for a frighteningly short trip down memory lane is irrespective. You’re going to have to embrace the fact that the nineties in all its glory is alive and kicking and here to stay, with the likes of Alexander Wang, Jeremy Scott and DKNY, which celebrates its 25th birthday this year, all fully embracing signature looks from the decade. If it’s not boldly emblazoned with a brand name, then it’s either a diaphanous satin slip (dressed up with heels a la Clueless or down with Doc Marten’s a la Courtney love) or a granddad collar, layers and an effortlessly cool look that just screams ‘slacker’. Top marks out of 10 for a look that’s easily achievable for a fraction of the cost at any thrift store, for further inspiration do your homework and watch reruns of nineties sitcoms. Just remember to leave the angst where it belongs; in the past.

CROPPED

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The next key look has become so popular amongst svelte, Amazonian creatures that it can now be considered a fully fledged trend; why, it’s crop tops of course. They cropped up all over NYFW, in more different iterations than you would have thought possible and looking chicer and more wearable than you would imagine too. Bustiers, boxy tees, bralettes; whatever the style of crop, team it with a high waisted pair of pants, culottes or a skirt and you will be earning instant style points for an excellent look that works day or night.

MONOCHROME

NYFW14_trends_monochrome_whiteAnother way to instant, effortless cool is head to toe white. Monochrome has been holding sway for a little while now and it’s easy to see why thanks to its simplicity. Admittedly, white may not be the easiest colour to wear on a daily basis, but take a tip or two from these designers when it comes to layering and belt up; this keeps an all white ensemble on the edgy side of contemporary.

PASTELS

NYFW14_trends_pastelsA seasonal fashion favourite, pastels, prove their enduring popularity making yet another comeback for the warmer summer months. Pastels were ubiquitous at NYFW with numerous designers splashing a soft tonal shade here or there. One of the great things about pastels is that they work on most garments, whether tailored, athletic, preppy or androgynous. They can also be easily mixed and matched although, as with the white, most of the tastemakers currently favour the monochromatic look.

SHEER

NYFW14_trends_sheerThe final pick from NYFW is yet another trend that has been around for a little while now but making thinly veiled attempts to disguise that fact with each new season that passes. Sheer is still here, although come Spring/Summer 2014 it’ll be leaving even less to the imagination than it has been in recent months. Barely there are the buzzwords for 2014 and the more everybody else sees of your bra the better. Of course this is all done in a very tasteful, fashion sort of way so nobody will bat an eyelid, just ask Michael Kors whose clothes gave everything away and yet remained the most coveted of all of fashion week.

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