Thursday, 17 November 2011

MK Design London

I had the chance to visit the Cornwall Design Fair 2011 held last summer. While going through the two tents I kept on seeing this elegant woman walking quickly back and forth like she knew exactly where she was going. As it turned out, Hyekyoung was one of the featured designers from London, selling handprinted scarves. The way her scarf floated and waved in the air as she walked was so mesmorising I followed her to her booth.

What inspired you to create MK Design?

My inspiration is drawn from a wealth of sources including nature, travelling and art galleries. Nature and its colours give me huge inspirations. When I find a scenery that I like, my brain and my heart suddenly stop working as I get very touched. Travelling has given me diverse colours and thoughts. Travelling in India, for example, gave me a different way of thinking and different view of looking at some objects. Regarding galleries, my favorite artists are Monet and Gustav Klimt. The combination of colours of their work and the patterns of Klimt's work are absolutely gorgeous.

What do you design mostly?

I specialise in textile print design. I have developed and transformed my skills by using traditional, contemporary and digital printing techniques combining with art talents and passion for textiles into fashion and interior products. Every piece in my collection is absolutely unique and individually crafted in limited numbers appealing to a contemporary market. Recently, I designed handmade silk scarves using marbling and hand painting techniques (pictured above).

What's the concept of your design?

I aim to create prints with an interest in the relationship between drawing, surface pattern and colours, I create abstract patterns that retain an element of the hand-drawn image. Integrating the traditional and the contemporary in a way of approaching and transforming my skills, I play with two opposite directions together to create my own personal expression that is unique and sophisticated.

What do you like to wear?

I like simple, unique and feminine style. I try to wear diverse brands together rather than being picky about designer brands. If some items make me look nice and match well, then they are just mine. So I like clothes from Topshop to Alexander McQueen. I especially enjoy wearing jeans brands: 7 jeans, DKNY,Diesel and Hudson all with T-shirts.

Where can I buy your garments and scarves?

Please enjoy surfing at Coming soon.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

New Posts Coming Soon

Hi, I've recently been concentrating on commercial shoots with work posted on the other blog Nana Chen Photography so that you know I've not forgotten about this blog! I will be posting more stylish people as soon as I can from Vietnam, France, Hong Kong, they've all got style and Asia in common.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

KIU--new French label

Kiu is a brand I first noticed while on a magazine shoot at Saigon's Vietnamese-Dutch restaurant Flow. The duo: Julie Dao Duy and Camille Chatelier were there to organise a fashion show at the then new venue. A year later, their creations are now on the racks at the Villa Anupa on the other side of town. I had to learn more.

What do you usually wear?

I usually wear the clothes we design, mixed with other clothes from other designer friends or brands. I like to have one basic piece and one designer piece.

Define your style
I would say I like casual and comfortable clothes. I started wearing heels not long ago so I am adapting my wardrobe right now :). But the general idea is to find clothes that you can wear without anything else. No need for accessories. Pair of Jean and a nice top is my favourite outfit.

How does your work influence your style and vice versa?
I always loved that 'ethnic chic' style you can find in magazines. But it's risky. It is often 'too much'. KIU is a nice compromise. That's why I like to wear our own collection.

-How did Kiu get its start?
KIU started as a crazy idea we both had ( None of us studied design). We were too shy and not confident enough to start a business alone. Starting KIU together has been a great adventure.

What's the concept?
The concept is simple. We want to mix traditional Vietnamese fabrics from the north with a young and casual design. There is only a small ethnic 'touch' on our clothes. It is not obvious, more subtle.

Who wears Kiu?
KIU is for women who want to wear comfortable clothes with style. Our fabrics are perfect for Vietnam and for Spring- Summer in Europe.

Where/Who do you look to for inspiration?
Inspiration comes form fashion magazines of course, designers' websites, but most of the time, it comes from the streets and people we meet.

Where do you shop for yourself?
I don't really shop in Vietnam. I just came back from Hong Kong, the best place for shopping!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Nomad Clothing Bangkok shoot

I got to do a quick half-day shoot while in Bangkok early this month. What fun! It was for Nomad a small boutique selling bohemian style clothing at Amarin Plaza in Bangkok. You can find their page on Facebook by searching Nomad Clothing Bangkok.

Special thanks goes to documentary photographer Patrick Brown for providing the location.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Jennifer Gampell

I came across Jennifer Gampell's name four years ago while searching for tips on living as a freelancer. I loved her piece on how she came to be a writer. Many months later I saw her on the cover of a Bangkok magazine with that terrific smile and funky clothes and jewellery.

I wrote to her complimenting her style. We finally met at a pool party one winter in Bangkok, which means swimming weather. While all of us had our swimsuits on, Jennifer wore a black dress and a pair of black high Camper boots. A friendship developed and we finally got to do a quick photo session last week. Here's her Q&A:

What are you wearing?

-2nd-hand Lee rider jean jacket from the Sanpakoi market in Chiang Mai, Thailand
-2nd-hand fuzzy black scarf from one of the many charity shops on Putney High Street, London
-2nd-hand sleeveless black top from a one-time Sunday street market in a Belgian village
-2nd-hand tiger print skirt cum top from a store that sells ridiculously cheap used American clothes at one of the MRT underground shops at Chatuchak Market, Bangkok
-2nd-hand black Canada North boots from Chatuchak Market, Bangkok
-2nd-hand 90s plastic earrings from an MRT underground shop at Chatuchak
-1st-hand black churidars from a western-style department store Mumbai, India
-1st-hand glasses from a shop near Gare Montparnasse, Paris, France

Define your style.
An idiosyncratic and eye-catching mix of other people's castoffs.

How does your work influence your style?
I've been self-employed for 21 years so thankfully I can wear what I choose.

Where/Who do you look for (to for) inspiration?
I ignore trends and really can't describe the gut feeling that leads me to wear what I do on any given day. I love the intuitive "aha" moment when I know intuitively a certain combination works. My only constraint is lack of space. Every new purchase means I need to get rid of something already hanging in my closet. Again, intuition tells me which item to keep for 15 years and which to pass on to friends after two weeks!

Where do you shop?
For the past 40 years I've trolled for second-hand clothes all over the world: at garage sales and thrift stores in the San Francisco bay area, charity shops in the U.K. and markets anywhere I encounter them. Zeroing in on even one interesting item amidst so many piles or racks of assorted clothes and accessories produces an addictive high that beats any drug or drink I ever imbibed in my wild and crazy youth.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Saigon Stylista Couple

Bien Nguyen and Elizabeth Fisher run the uber-trendy Xu Restaurant Lounge in Saigon. The two are also one of the most stylish couples I've encountered anywhere. I caught up with them last month for a quick click on the street & a Q&A on their personal style and what makes them head-turners.

Bien's Q&A
Shoes: Ted Baker
Jeans: Nudie - Thigh Long John [Favorite brand of jeans]
Under T-shirt: Marshall artist [friends label taking the world by storm]
Sweater: D&G
Jacket: Tailored by Cao Minh HCMC

My style concept is usually balancing casual or street with a touch of formal chic. I need to look the perceived presentable but cool and maybe a bit of edge. So I think that comes through on most days. I'm not sure who inspires my style but I like to wear at least one item that is unique to the commercial.

I usually shop outside of Vietnam in smaller edgy boutiques with up-and-coming designers. In Singapore, Haji Lane has a few small cool boutiques, New York's Soho and Outer Soho area, too. In Vietnam, Mai Lam--one-offs for her son of course, and L'usine.

Elizabeth's Q&A
Top: Edun
Jeans: J Brand
Shoes: Aldo
Necklace: Marc Jacobs
Bracelets: Hermes
Bangles: a gift

My style is casual classic with a bit of glamour and edge. I like to keep my look simple but always add a touch of funk or glamour. With work I can pretty much wear whatever I feel comfortable in that has style. If I have meetings that day, I dress in more business style. If I have an event that evening, then my work outfit will be party fun.

I get inspired by everything from my friends, to magazines, to my fake shopping carts I create online. I love to pretend to shop online; like at or, and see what they are trending.

Shopping in Vietnam is very difficult, especially for my body size and in particular my sized 40 feet. I can't go very local because nothing fits properly, but I will hit up places like Mango or M)phosis for basics and then go to L'Usine or Mai Lam for more unique pieces.

My favorite place to shop is in the US though. Everything just fits, especially for shoes where they carry every style in my size. But I do agree with Bien: for Asia, I love to hit up the boutique-y areas like Haji in Singapore or Soho in Hong Kong.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Co-Hosting Premeire Episode of Greatest Trips In The World:Taiwan

I co-hosted a Taiwan Tourism film alongside American TV host JD Roberto last November. The premiere episode of KTLA's Best Vacations in the World will be screened on 20 February at the Dining Terrace of the Westfield Mall Century City in Los Angeles. For most of you, like myself, we can view it on KTLA's website.

Picture taken of the film crew by our brilliant director and editor Darryl Kinson.

My wardrobe was partially supplied by SONG Paris