Friday, 25 May 2012

A friend and I were sharing an early evening drink when she nodded to two beautiful women at the neighbouring table. I instantly asked for an introduction and learned that one of them is Danish fashion designer Elisabeth Rolskov who created the label ER Couture. Having lived in Copenhagen where people watching was a great delight, I asked Elisabeth to bring out her latest creations for a quick shoot. Here they are. Her Q&A follows.

What defines your style?
My personal style and my designs share the same DNA! There are few things I enjoy more than wearing well thought-out clothes that are durable and of a high quality, and my own designs reflect this priority. Durability, quality and uniqueness are the most primary features of our designs; these are reflected in our fabrics, craftsmanship and attention to details. I have always loved fabrics and been specially excited about silk and natural materials. I never compromise on quality and continuously do my utmost to make things last.

What would you say is the concept behind your designs?
The mission of ER Couture is to give women garments that make them feel comfortable and beautiful, and our collections combine different design elements in a way that tries to redefine femininity. In this day and age, where the the catwalk model is merely a stick figure, we celebrate the beauty of the feminine silhouette by highlighting women’s natural curves and allure.

How did you get started in design?
The interest has always been there – ever since I was a little girl drawing glamorous dresses for my paper dolls. In school, I focused more on mathematics and political science, but my official start in fashion design was at a private school in Hong Kong. I continued my studies in China, at Raffles Design Institute for a few years and transferred to Ho Chi Minh City where I graduated.

How was ER Couture born?
I think ER Couture was born with me - it has always been a goal for me. Just after my graduation, I came across an excellent spot for a shop in my local area. As someone who is slightly larger than the standard Vietnamese lady, I knew there was an overlooked demand for larger sizes, especially for Westerners, so I set out to fill this gap in the market. Luckily, our designs were also well-received by the Vietnamese clientele, so we had to expand our size range and now carry standard sizes from 34-42! We also do made-to-order, and I am personally very proud of this service. I see this as a way of encouraging quality and “slow fashion” over mass-produced disposable fashion.

Why Asia and how does being in Asia help you?
Asia is a growing market and I believe that I stand stronger than most American/European designers, as I live and work in Asia where most clothing production is carried out today. I know the culture, the language, the market and the consumers personally, and have a lot of experience in managing and cooperating with suppliers.

Name three design elements you would take back to Denmark.
Our intricate knot-details, our kimono-style leather belts and our hand-sewn fabric manipulations.

Tell us about what you're wearing in the photos.
I am wearing one of our kimono style wrap blouses in silk and cotton. The high mandarin collar is delicately sewn with an elaborate smocking detail. An angular lace is attached around the edge. The belt is 100% silk with small Asian knot style buttons in the front. The pencil skirt is in cotton. You can't see it in the picture, but it has another knot-detail at the waist and elastic on the sides. In the other picture I'm wearing one of our comfortable cotton jersey dresses with dolman sleeves and low waterfall neckline at the back. The dress is accessorized with one of our leather belts with a monochromatic dragon embroidery.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Singapore Style in Saigon

I recently met Yeni Adam in Ho Chi Minh City and was captivated by her vibrant personality and feminine style. She generously allowed me to style and shoot her one afternoon in the streets of Saigon.

Q&A with Yeni Adam

What catches your eyes, in other words, how do you go about choosing an outfit for everyday wear? Formal occasion?

Daily wear: comfort + colours + accessories! I love pastels for daily wear. As a mom, I also have to consider materials that allow me to move freely, so denim and cotton are my best friends. Chunky accessories are the final touches for the day.

Formal occasion: I bend towards classic elegance. Classic cuts and colours like royal blue and jade green are my current favourites.

What would you say is a connecting theme in the beautiful pieces you choose?

Classic & chic.

If you had a fancy dress party, what theme would you choose?

Alice in Wonderland. There is a tiny part of me that wants to wear quirky eccentric colours out to the mall... since that is never going to happen, I would love to have a party with bursting colours everywhere!

Please give us a few stories about what you're wearing.

The DVF black V-neck printed dress is from my husband. First gift he bought for me while we were dating. I came home from work and saw a paper bag on the bed. Honestly, I was slightly worried because I was not sure if it was the right fit...but it turned out well! I was really impressed by him.

The circle-detail copper with braid leather necklace reminds me of Sapa. I have always been interested in the people of aboriginal regions, like Papua New Guinea and Sapa.

The green silk clutch purse is from Covent Garden, London. I was out discovering the new city when I saw this purse. I appreciate details and prints on bags because my daily attire is usually simple so such bags will help pop the outfit a bit more. On top of that, this green purse has the Cath Kidston touch to it.

Finally, the Chanel handbag is a gift from my lovely husband. It is a thank-you-for-going-through-labour-for-us sort of present :) This classic handbag goes with almost everything in my wardrobe. Versatile piece.