Monday, April 30, 2012

Daily Wear: The Scarf Print

This is the story of my surprising find, a scarf print tunic from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London that I scavenged from, of all places, an ukay-ukay in Boracay. 

I don't know if you've ever explored the back streets of Bora, but yes, there are a number of second-hand stalls to be found. I discovered one years before on the beachfront near Station 3. It's not there anymore, as beachfront properties on the island are, not surprisingly, prime real estate nowadays, but they're still there. Admittedly, they cater to the local residents, not to occasional, sun-seeking visitors like me, but on an unexpected vacay last year with the boyfriend, I set off by myself one morning to explore these ukay-ans. In one stall, a rack of bags suspended from plastic hangers revealed a sophisticated treasure in the form of a tan envelope clutch. A few doors down, I hit upon my version of Yamashita's treasure: a two-stall space that harbored quite a number of stylish finds. 

I must have spent over an hour in that stall, chatting up with the local tinderas who happily obliged my requests to bring down dusty dresses and jackets hanging from up high near the ceilings. I perused, and ransacked, and came out with three dresses, a light, olive green jacket, a brilliant satiny fuchsia top, and the said scarf-print tunic. I don't know what made me buy it. It was silk. It was from a London museum. And it had that perfectly vintage, my-sosyal-grandma-used-to-wear-this-a-lot look to it. So I bought it.

A few months later, I finally got around to wearing it. It didn't look quite right on its own, so I ended up wearing it like a jacket, paired with a simple ribbed tank, my beloved crochet shorts, and sexy black heels. The enormous clutch I'm holding is also another cheapo find, this time from a Japan Surplus store (oho, that's another cheap spot worth ransacking!). It's a Lancel clutch that's a bit worse for wear, but I like it when it looks a bit rough around the edges.

Tank, Topshop. Thrifted jacket/tunic, Victoria and Albert Museum London. Crocheted shorts, bought in New York. Heels, Charles and Keith. Thrifted clutch, Lancel. Necklace, stannard-inc, bought in Australia. Tassel necklace (worn as bracelet), gift from a former co-worker. 

Excuse the veiny hands and random hair tie. Here's a close up of the clutch, and my pretty friendship bracelet stacks from Martina-Martina.

That was last month, so imagine my delight when, upon arriving in London, I discover that all (and I am not exaggerating) the high street shops have their own take on the scarf print trend. Everyone from River Island, Dorothy Perkins, and Topshop, to Primark, Zara, Mango, and Next have some form of scarf-printed piece. Of course, it is a trend, so I'm not quite sure about it's longevity, but for now, I am predicting a few more months shelf life for this design. I find it sophisticated, different, and a fresh take on the print phenomenon happening this season—a respite from all the florals we've been seeing in the stores.

Before I sign off, here are some scarf-print high street picks:

Scarf print dress, Next

Printed top, Dorothy Perkins

Shorts, Zara

Monday, April 16, 2012

Trippin': Dublin

Have spent the past few days in the gorgeous country of Ireland. Went there to attend my friend Kissa's wedding to Darren in Dublin. Only spent a few days in the capital, but there was much to see. I've got loads of photos, so I'll do a Tumblr-ish post, and do short commentaries on every photo instead.

A peek into what I packed: kudos to myself for packing light (well, as light as I have ever packed!) The scales tipped at 20 kgs. It was hard deciding what to bring as the weather will probably change from chilly to warm in the midst of our travels. I'll be recycling a lot of pieces in my outfits and will need to channel my styling creativity.

One of my favorite outfits. At the last minute, I threw in the leather shorts from Topshop, because it's a bit much to wear them in the sweltering Manila heat. The top is a find from Divisoria for P500. My sister was wary about me buying them (very lola (grandma) daw), but I'm happy I got them. The lilac hue is quite pretty! Boots bought at a Rachel Comey sample sale. Photos by Bahaghari.
Beauty notes: wearing one of my favorite lip shades from Cover Girl, 335 Embrace, a plum tone that can go darker if I lay it on thick. Didn't bring a lot of accessories, but I did bring this vintage rhinestone necklace that was a gift from my old boss.
A favorite photo by Bahag. Bahag was one of my favorite photographers to work with on fashion editorials back when he was still based in Manila. He flew to Dublin from Japan (where he now lives) as the official photog for the wedding and all the shenanigans before and after the event. Very street-style pap noh? That's Bahag for you. He picks up his camera and starts shooting away ninja-style, producing candid photos that vivid and beautiful. As for that thing around me, it's my "blanket." Apart from my camel cape, the only other piece of "outerwear" I have is this ginormous throw bought at Giant Tiger in Canada. I tend to look like a bag lady when I wear it but hey, anything to keep me warm!
Here are some vintage Guinness bottles. Guinness stout used to be the most widely consumed beer in Ireland, and that's saying a lot considering the Irish love their beer and produce a lot of it! I thoroughly enjoyed the Guinness Storehouse tour. We got a free voucher, a gift from Darren's family, in our welcome package from Kis and Darren. Though I am not a beer drinker, I learned to appreciate the ingredients, the process and the skill that goes into making an excellent bottle of stout. Found out a bit of history too on this tour. Did you know that Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease for the brewery property? A visionary indeed!

I had no idea that the Guinness book of records had any connection to the Guinness drink until this tour. "It all started in 1951 when Sir Hugh Beaver, then Managing Director of GUINNESS, missed a bird while out shooting. Back in the pub, a discussion followed about which game bird flew the fastest—a question that wasn't resolved. Three years later, Sir Hugh found himself having another argument about which was the fastest European game bird. He realized that similar debates must take place in bars all over the world and that a book was needed to help bar staff settle the disputes—a service provided by the GUINNESS Book of Records."  -- from the Guinness exhibit
I also enjoyed seeing all the GUINNESS ads. The posters are the work of artist John Gilroy, who was so good that Walt Disney attempted to pirate him. You'll find these posters everywhere you go in Dublin. 
There are a lot of offshoot Guinness products (think mustard, meat marinade, and chocolates). They also give out free recipe cards so you can make your own Guinness concoction. This looks like an easy recipe: Guinness Truffles!

Of course we couldn't leave without having a pint. It's free at the end of the tour!
Here's another outfit shot: yes, I CAN wear my summery crocheted shorts in chilly spring weather! It's all about layering. Wore it with my navy Mango sweater (I have this in three colors, it's quite the staple), a vintage scarf, Marks and Spencer thermal tights, and my cap-toe Suelas flats. Topped off with my Uniqlo wool cape. And see those furry things I'm clutching? Those are my "Cookie Monster" gloves. When I wear them, I always have the urge to say "Om nom nom nom" and bring my fur-covered hands up to my mouth, hahaha! They're quite bulky but they keep my hands (which have a tendency to freeze) warm. And another thing that keeps me warm: my Marks and Sparks thermal vest hidden underneath everything. 
One of my favorite scarves. The silk material + the print make it very sosy!

When you're in Dublin, you must stop in at Trinity College. We went there to see the Book of Kells, a highly detailed, painstakingly illustrated and ornamented manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament. At the end of the exhibit, you'll get to walk through the Old Library. My inner bookworm was in heaven upon entering the musty hall packed floor-to-ceiling with ancient books. I WANT a library like this. The exhibit ticket was another free gift from the McDermott's. (Photo grabbed from Best Tourism.) 

Even if you don't want to shell out euros for the exhibit, you should walk around the sprawling campus if only to admire the architecture and the odd bit of artwork. This is called "Sphere within a Sphere" and what's cool about it is you can actually rotate this thing around. Reminds me of the cube in Astor Place, New York that also rotates, "Alamo" by Tony Rosenthal.

Another interesting spot is the Oscar Wilde monument on Merrion Square park. There are two pillars decorated with the Irish poet and writer's quotable literary gems, a mix of witty, and thought-provoking quotes, such as "I can resist everything except temptation," and "Who, being loved, is poor?"

Another must visit: The Avoca store on Suffolk Street, a charming, mid-sized boutique full of craft-y goods and fashion. It reminds me of Anthropologie in the US. They sell random but carefully chosen products ranging from jewelry and dresses, to throws, toiletries, small home furnishings, paper products, and even food! According to one review I read, going to Avoca is like visiting the house of your friend with exquisite good taste.  

What sets it apart from Anthologie is the food factor. There is a food hall in the basement, and a cafe on the top floor. We had a late lunch at the cafe, and oooh, I loved it! The interiors perfectly capture the shabby-chic aesthetic, and the food, which is locally-sourced, was yum! I ordered the herbed wild and field mushroom on toasted cheese bread (second photo after the menu), with an elderflower presse drink (third photo). Pat went for a scrumptious fish pie (fourth top). 
Here's a cool interior idea: using empty picture frames to embellish patterned wallpaper. 

And the main event, the wedding! It was a touching ceremony at the small, but beautiful Newman University Church. 
Reception followed next door at the Newman House, a Georgian townhouse characterized by highly detailed plasterwork.  It's usually hired for conferences, and if I'm not mistaken, Kissa and Darren are the first couple to have a reception held there. With its understatedly luxe interiors, it was the perfect setting for the intimate reception, and a fitting reflection of Kissa's discerning taste. 
You gotta love the details on Kissa's Carey Santiago dress. 

Wedding outfit: Vintage dress bought at Sammy & Sid, a vintage/consignment store in Manly Beach, Australia. Nude lace stockings from DKNY. Platform sandals from Jean and Rosz. Bracelet from The Landmark, ring from Oasis, and clutch from Aranaz. 
Details, details. Sadly, I lost the ring that same night (and to think I bought it that same morning!)

I was hesitant about bringing these shoes because I doubt I will be able to wear them much on this trip. But they really made the outfit, so I'm happy I did. Bonus: they're surprisingly comfortable too!
Beauty notes: Went for a simple chignon for the 'do as I am quite inept at fixing my own hair. Didn't quite know how to do my makeup, but I think it turned out alright. Only a sweep of nude shadow on my eyes, accentuated by winged eyeliner. Did the eyebrows as well. Swept on Nars blush (forgot the shade, but it's a nude-ish one), and carefully applied MAC Viva Las Vegas lippie (a pastel coral hue), and I was set. 
On a final note, you can't go to Dublin and not notice the colorful front doors. They make the already lovely cityscape even more charming. 
That's it for Dublin! Watch out for my Irish countryside post. I promise you will be awed by the photos. :)

P.S. Don't forget to follow me on Instagram, username "kinatkat" for more frequent updates.

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