Get That Look: Cold Weather Looks à la Our Favorite Style Muses

With temperatures slowly dipping and chill factor slowly increasing, this means we’re busting out our favorite cold weather gear!.  But take note, warm holiday sweater ≠ Cosby sweater (unless you want it to, of course).  In any case, take some cues from some of our favorite Asian and Asian American fashionistas and end the year in style.  Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 4.20.44 PM1 – Madewell Shirttail Skirt; 2 – Milly Jacquard Plaid Skirt; 3 – Rebecca Taylor Dolman Sleeve Cropped Knit; 4 – Topshop ALPY Velvet Lace Up Boots; 5 – SoleSociety Delancey; 6 – T by Alexander Wang Stretch-Cotton Top; 7 – H&M Long Shirt; 8 – LNA Cotton Flannel

In the past few years, plaid has made its resurgence as a go-to pattern, no longer being reserved for lumberjack and woodsmen. But rather than just wearing the print as a button-up, pull inspiration from the ’90s like style bloggers Jenny Ong, who’s channeling Cher Horowitz with her plaid skirt and sweater combo (avoid looking like a schoolgirl by picking a non-pleated skirt), and Tricia Gosingtian, who adds a bit of punk flair to her feminine outfit with clashing patterns and a plaid wrap-around.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 5.41.02 PM
1 – Topshop Hooded Bomber; 2 – Modekungen Bomber; 3 – Rag & Bone Lily Pullover; 4 – Nasty Gal Back in Action Boyfriend Jeans; 5 – Superga 2750; 6 – MSGM Wool Cape; 7 – Kohl’s Honee Mixed-Media Trench; 8 – Rag & Bone Moto Leggings; 9 – Topshop Milla Lace Up Shoes

Like models Sui He and Shu Pei, play with the idea of volume with your outerwear, especially if it’s in military green (a virtual neutral, if we do say so).  Take a more relaxed look like Sui He and couple a bomber jacket with a boyfriend jean, but keep the look clean and downtown-ready with a knit sweater, sneakers and perfectly coiffed hair.  For a more streamlined look like Shu Pei’s, couple a more fitted jean or legging with a bulky wool coat for balance.

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 11.36.47 AM
1 – Topshop Hooded Bomber; 2 – Modekungen Bomber; 3 – Rag & Bone Lily Pullover; 4 – Nasty Gal Back in Action Boyfriend Jeans; 5 – Superga 2750; 6 – MSGM Wool Cape; 7 – Kohl’s Honee Mixed-Media Trench; 8 – Rag & Bone Moto Leggings; 9 – Topshop Milla Lace Up Shoes

As the most practical (and logical) winter wear trend, layering has become standard in chilly temperatures.  Avoid looking and feeling frumpy by picking pieces in different textures, weights, patterns and lengths; for instance, make like model Fei Fei Sun and K-Pop star Nana and couple a light collard shirt with a sweater (the perfect way to keep using that chambray!).  Pair a light, slightly oversized knit (like cashmere — Uniqlo’s is only $20-$30!) with a long cardigan like Fei Fei or if wearing a heavier coat like Nana, a thicker knit.

What will you be wearing this December?

Indian American Waris Ahluwalia Stars in Gap’s Latest Holiday Campaign

San Francisco-based retailer, Gap, has quickly created a positive buzz with its latest campaign. Designer/actor Waris Ahluwalia, arguably one of the most prominent Indian American and Sikh figures in the fashion world (just check his Style.com pages), is one of the campaign’s featured faces.

Just released at the start of the month, the campaign stars a slew of personalities including Ahluwalia (as well as this year’s Unforgettable host, Lisa Ling) and has drawn a number of positive comments for the diversity in its casting.

Seen alongside artist and filmmaker Quentin Jones, Ahluwalia is seen modelling the mega-retailer’s latest holiday fashions — a puffer vest and a button down shirt.  But it’s not just the clothes that have created a buzz.  In an industry that often draws flak and criticism for its lack of diversity, the conscious decision to cast and feature Ahluwalia as one of the faces of a globally-recognized brand is undoubtedly a needed change, a powerful statement on representation and tolerance and a much-needed step forward.

Many fans have been quick to show their support.  On Gap’s Facebook page, the photo featuring Ahluwalia has already garnered over 700+ likes and quite a few positive comments.  A sampling of which is below:

Keenu Hundal Saw this ad in teh (sic) downtown San Francisco store and literally stopped in my tracks. I was so happy to see you all select a Sikh male in your new ad campaign. We need to make the Sikh male image more mainstream in order to educate the general public on who we are, so that ignorace does not breed hate any longer. Thank you, Gap!

Charu Kapoor Deshpande You guys have truly raised the advertising/marketing bar … Bravo for making a statement by setting yourselves apart and recognizing how the world had changed and is changing! Best campaign I have ever seen because you stepped outside the box!! Bravo

 

Suvraj Mandeep Thank you Gap. It’s such a proudest moment to finally see that major designer store has choose Sikh as there Frontwall model who is actually a pure Sikh (the one who wears Turban and has full beard). Truly, a vary proud moment for all the Sikhs. Finally, putting Gap to my top list for shopping this holiday!

 

With such a positive response, we can only hope that this helps mark a new, more diverse, more representative era in the often-exclusionary world of fashion.

 

Flashback Friday: Small Boobs Unite! (And Find the Right Bra for You)

I think when I say that I have problems finding a good fitting bra since I am so petite, some of you would probably nod in agreement because you feel the same way. Yes, I have a small bust and I was ashamed of it. Going to bra shops and trying on the smallest size they carry, usually a 32A, and realizing I can’t even fill those up only added to my insecurity. Ladies, if you experienced the same situation, please know that we all come in different shapes in sizes. You are beautiful no matter what size you wear and I am excited to tell you that you no longer have to worry about being “too small” because there are shops that carry petite lingerie so you’ll finally be able to wear a bra that’s the right size for you.

First of all, it’s important to find out exactly what size you wear. Lingerie companies tend to use different calculations to arrive at your bra size, but they always take the same measurements: the under-bust area and the fullest part of your bust. If you personally visit a lingerie shop, ask them to measure you, or for those who are shy, tell them your two measurements and they should be able to tell you your size. If you buy bras online, be sure to check their fitting section since they tend to vary.

When fitting, you should be fastening your bra at the outermost hook because the band tends to stretch overtime and you can move in a hook when this happens and still fit the bra fine. After you put it on, pull the back of the band outwards and it should only stretch out 2 inches. Go up or down a band size depending on how much it stretches out. Do take into account that cup size changes with band size: when going up a band size, go down a cup size (e.g. the cups of 30B and 32A should be the same).

Lula Lu Petites

From left: Wireless Push-up Bra ($36.00); Azaria Bralette & Azaria Thong ($48.00/$30.00); Isabella Demi Cup Bra ($54.00). All from Lula Lu Petites.

Lula Lu Petites Lingerie

Some of you may be comfortable and proud of your petite breasts. You may not want to pretend to have more than what you own with major push-up bras but can’t seem to find small bras that fit you without thick padding. Ellen Shing’s lingerie collection, Lula Lu Petites, feature bras that are unpadded to lightly-lined. Sizes range from 32AAA-36AAA, 32AA-38AA and 32A-36A.

The Little Bra Company

From left: Lucia ($56.00); Sascha ($60.00); Angela ($52.00). All from The Little Bra Company.

The Little Bra Company (TLBC)

For those of you like me who don’t have a whole lot in the chest area but would still love some cleavage, Emily Lau from TLBC has the solution. Their bras do not contain a whole lot of padding but the size and fit are able to miraculously give you enough push for a desired shape. They carry bras that range from 28A-36B in either smooth or lace cups.

Itty Bitty Bra

From left: Signature Bra ($50.00); Bralette ($42.00); Removable Pad Bra ($60.00). All from Itty Bitty Bra.

Itty Bitty Bra

Jane Alden Hodgdon understands that grown small-busted women do not want to be searching the teenage section for a fitting bra. Women like us need a bra that not only provides support, but is also stylish and comfortable. They carry bras in sizes 32AA-36B.

Figleaves

From left: Embrace Lace Petite Push-up Bra by Wacoal ($69.00); Bahia Demi Cup Underwire Bra by Aubade ($82.00); Just Peachy Lace Padded Balconette Bra by Figleaves ($22.53).

Figleaves

Figleaves does not specialize in petite lingerie, but they do carry small sizes, such as band size 28 and 30. They bring together bras from many different companies so there are plenty of options.

Two other stores that you might want to check out are LoveStruck Lingerie and Eve’s Apples.

 

Jee Kim Designs Bags for Men on the Go

Story by James S. Kim. 

Men and Their Baggage
Designer Jee Kim, founder of Peasants & Travelers, creates stylish and functional bags for men, who were actually quite the bag innovators a few centuries ago.

 

It doesn’t take a fashionista to understand the relationship between women and bags. Synonymous, symbiotic, or both—it just takes a quick walk down the street of any downtown urban center to spot these two going hand in hand, or perhaps, on the shoulder or across the chest. Purses, totes, carryalls and clutch bags and more make up the diverse world of women’s bags.

It’s hard to imagine now that men once dominated the bag scene. But that’s where Jee Kim, designer and founder of the San Francisco-based men’s bag company Peasants & Travelers finds inspiration for her work.

Jee Kim. Photo by Narith Ta.

Jee Kim. Photo by Narith Ta.

“Back in the 18th century, it was the peasants who carried their owners’ belongings in makeshift satchels during travel. It was also the men who traveled long distances alone before women could, thus making them the first true carriers of ‘bags,’” she said.

Her company, as well as its name, pays homage to these early bag innovators.

Peasants & Travelers looks to bring together the oft-mutually exclusive qualities of fashionable and functional in men’s bags. Pay no heed to the jeers of “man purse” and the like. There’s something else for men besides the standard backpack or briefcase. Despite what many may think, there is a growing market for men’s bags, and Kim has built a solid footing for herself as a designer and businesswoman.

Kim, who grew up in Maryland, said she had high dreams of being in fashion and running her own business.  After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York with a merchandising degree, she secured a job with Gucci, the first of several brands that she would eventually add to her resume.

For over 10 years, Kim worked at brands that included Neiman Marcus, Banana Republic and William Sonoma. Her work took her all over the world, but it was her travels in Asia, specifically Hong Kong, Japan and Korea, that kindled her artist’s spark.

“I’ve always had a fascination with bags [and] their function,” she said. “A good shoulder bag [for example] frees your hands for multitasking. I noticed that men [in Asia] utilized bags as a fashion statement. The bag was a prominent part of the outfit. They didn’t seem to peg the bag with a gender, but embraced it.

“It was only a matter of time before American men would follow and expect more stylish bag options.”

Kim acquired valuable operation and production experience during her years in the fashion industry. The concept of Peasants & Travelers came to fruition and felt conceivable, she said, with the experience she had gained.

The company officially launched in August 2008, and Kim found herself initially running nearly all aspects of the company. Tapping her former colleagues in China, she was able to find partners in product development and design, and she would travel there for two to three weeks at a time to pick out fabrics, trims, zippers and whatever materials she would need. After finalizing the products, she would take the samples back to the U.S. herself, then haul them along to trade shows to showcase them to retailers.

The first collection shipped in March 2009. The 12-piece collection, which featured various bags, totes and carryalls in three different color waves (olive, brown and navy with black accents), began garnering attention in fashion media, including Urban Daddy, Thrillist and the New York Times. Notable retailers such as Urban Outfitters began carrying Peasants & Travelers products.

None of them, however, gained as much acclaim and popularity as Kim’s reimagining of the classic doctor’s bag.

“It put us on the map,” she said.  “It was versatile enough for work and/or for the gym. I [still] get emails requesting them.”

The bag takes after the classic doctor bag with the split-handle design on the top. However, Kim’s modernized interpretations are sure to draw glances with its unusual fabrics like cork, as well as the fine leather trim and the addition of shoulder straps.

“I think in the fabrics and the trim we use, it definitely updates the bag,” she said. “The strategy is modernizing a classic bag and making it comfortable for a guy who wouldn’t normally consider carrying a doctor’s bag, making them consider it and easing them into a style that is a bit more out there.”

Kim in her workshop. Photo courtesy of Jee Kim.

Kim in her workshop. Photo courtesy of Jee Kim.

She noted that cork is a material often used for shoes, and people don’t expect to see it in a bag. “That’s an element of surprise,” she said.

Unfortunately for potential buyers, the doctor’s bag has been sold out for quite a while, but they can look forward to a revamped, sturdier version in the spring 2014 collection.

The collection continues Kim’s vision of “fashionable and functional,” led by the weekend/gym bag, which features a separate shoe compartment and enough space for a weekend trip.

“As a creative person, you always have a storage of things that you like in the back of your head,” Kim said. “You always kind of are looking at things in a visual way. I think one of the strategies going in was, when a guy is carrying a bag into work and he’s also travelling, what are some styles that are classic but haven’t yet been interpreted in a modern way?”

Men who may be hesitant about checking out bags because of any “man purse” label shouldn’t have to worry. Men have long used bags, and now, thanks to Kim, they have some stylishly functional options from which to choose.

This story was originally published in the October 2013 issue of KoreAm Journal.  

 

Paris Fashion Week: Sarah Baadarani’s New Look

British Lebanese designer Sarah Baadarani has made a name for herself in evening wear since launching her brand in 2010. During Paris Fashion Week, Baadarani gave Audrey a peek at her Spring/Summer 2014 collection, in which she’s shifted her focus toward versatile daywear pieces in cotton and jersey. Though trousers, blouses, and jackets have taken center stage in lieu of her signature gowns, Baadarani’s ethereal style prevails.

Inspired by the concept of elevating daywear with an infusion of elegant drapery and feminine details, the collection features a juxtaposition of structure and flowing fabrics. Pieces range from structured trousers with a generous sash around the waist, to blazers with billowing sleeves, chiffon pieces peppered with a three-dimensional print of hand-painted roses overlaid by embroidered jewels, and versatile cotton dresses that are cut in such a way that they can be worn three different ways.

Baadarani has taken the brand in an interesting new direction by playing around with material and structure to create a collection of visually intriguing pieces. All in all, she has succeeded in preserving the accessibility and comfort of daywear in the pursuit of evening wear elegance, resulting in a thought-provoking collection that questions the boundaries within fashion.

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 8.59.45 AM Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 9.00.40 AM Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 10.27.55 AM Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 10.28.08 AM

NewbarK Presents The Most Comfortable Pair of Flats EVER

Audrey gets up close and personal with Paris Fashion Week. 

These days, fashion brands looking to cut costs turn increasingly to overseas manufacturing or cheaper materials. NewbarK makes a point of doing the opposite. Founded by stylist sisters Marjam and Maryam Malakpour, all NewbarK shoes and bags are handmade in Los Angeles. Flip a pair of their flats inside out, and you’d be hard pressed to find a hint of glue. We got up close with the NewbarK Spring/Summer 2014 collection at Paris Fashion Week.

Artisanal quality aside, NewbarK dedicates itself above all to comfort. Models favor the brand for its durability, often wearing the same pair of flats for several years before needing to replace them. Their debut collection featured foldable flats you could take “from shoot to shoot” and a market tote roomy enough for all the gadgets and knick knacks one could need in a busy day. Their newest showcases an aesthetic expansion of the brand’s original practical designs. Wedges and flip flops have joined the original flats, which now come in metallic shades of calf-hair and suede. As for bags, NewbarK SS14 introduces more structured satchels, as well as its much-loved hip bags in new colors and textures, including snakeskin.

With the evolution of the brand, NewbarK has also turned its attention to weatherproofing its products. Though the brand’s hometown of Los Angeles is rarely hit with extreme weather, the designers have now incorporated waterproof materials for fans elsewhere, further solidifying NewbarK’s place as a champion of durability, quality, and comfort.

nb 1 nb 2

The Sudarso Brothers Top 5 Fall Looks

Yoshi and Peter Adrian Sudarso are no strangers to Audrey. The brothers have already earned their spot as a pair of our favorite SHAGs (Smoking Hot Asian Guys) and consistently give us looks to swoon over.

The brothers, who have both dipped their feet in the modeling industry, have proven time and time again that clothes are their best friend. In honor of October, falling leaves, and pumpkin-flavored everything, we bring you our Top 5 Sudarso Brothers Fall Looks.

1) The Leather Look
Its like Christmas came early! The boys give us just a hint of the “bad boy” leather look.
leather 1 leather 2 leather 3 leather 4

2) The Jean Look
In case the jean jacket craze hasn’t won you over yet, we’re sure this will.
jean 1 jean 2 jean 3 apple

3) The Layered Look
Because layers are now officially our favorite part of Fall.
layers 1 layers 2 layers 3 layers 4

4) The I-Didn’t-Know-Sweaters-and-Jackets-Could-Look-So-Good Look
Its pretty self-explanatory.

sweater 1 sweater 2 sweater 3 sweater 4

5) The Weather-Is-Confusing-Today Look
For the Fall days when mornings are cold, afternoons are hot, and nights are cold again.
weather 1 weather 3 weather 4

To see more of the Sudarso Brothers (you know you want to) click here.

Get This Celeb Look: Ellen Wong’s ‘Picture Perfect’ Look

You may remember this actress as Knives Chau in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Although she was heartbroken and quite the mess throughout the film, Ellen Wong is clearly a stunning lady in real life. Hair and makeup artist Anna Barseghian spills her secret on how to get Ellen Wong’s “Picture Perfect” look.

ellen wong

 

Hair:
I used a Rowenta 2 in 1 Ceramic Ionic Curling Iron and I curled the mid section of her hair. This look creates a little more of this disheveled look. The reason why I choose this look is because of Ellen’s dress, seeing that it is so clean and polished.

 

 Makeup:
As for Ellen’s makeup, I created smokey eye using m.a.c eyeshadow called Romp, Black Tied and I finished with lancôme mascara Hypnose. Ellen’s skin is already so flawless I used Giorgio Armani foundation: luminous and putting a touch fluid sheer on her cheek area, this create a great glow in the skin.

 

The Daily SHAG | Daniel Henney For Elle Korea October 2013

It’s rare to feel the need to swoon, sigh, giggle (yes, the term “giggle” is actually appropriate here) and blush all at the same time. If you thought this overwhelm of emotions was impossible, then you clearly haven’t seen the latest photoshoot from today’s Daily SHAG (Smoking Hot Asian Guy), Daniel Henney.

This 33-year-old model and actor has been stealing hearts since 2001 when his modeling career began. He then became a South Korea favorite after staring in My Name is Kim Sam Soon. He continued to gather Korean fans through variety shows and eventually came back to the U.S.

In 2009, Henney portrayed Agent Zero in the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine instantly became a fan favorite. More recently, he is known for his role Michael Noshimuri in the CBS hit Hawaii Five-O.

As great of an actor as Henney is, he clearly knows what he’s doing when it comes to modeling. One second he’s goofy, another second he’s charming and the another second he’s steamy. Check it out for yourself as he graces the pages of Elle Korea’s October Issue:

dh 2 dh 3 dh 5 dh 6 dh 7

And our personal favorite:

dh 4

Accessories Designer Rafe Totengco Bring Us Something Different

Story by Kristine Ortiz

 

When asked what his 10- year-old self would tell him today, Rafe Totengco jokes, “Why didn’t you get started sooner?” Even as a young child, the Filipino American accessories designer — who has been designing for his coveted namesake brand Rafe New York for the last 16 years, and serves as the creative director of handbags at The Jones Group, which handles more than two dozen labels including Rachel Roy, B Brian Atwood, Stuart Weitzman, Givenchy Jewelry and Nine West —always knew that fashion was in the cards for him.

A self-described “creative,” Totengco remembers growing up in the Philippines and making alterations to his school uniforms and Sunday church clothes on a seemingly weekly basis. “Since the fifth grade, I was already designing. The tailor and I had a very good relationship,” he says with a laugh. It was his realization that simple aesthetic changes to something as basic as trousers could bring him “instant gratification,” that laid the foundation for his future in the fashion industry.

After starting his own fashion business in Manila, Totengco made his way to New York to pursue his love for design, a move that his family supported. It was his time in the Big Apple that allowed Totengco to explore and to hone in on how he wanted to make his mark on the industry.

“I felt that the only way for me to be independent and be my own designer was to start an accessories company,” he says. “I didn’t have to go through the drama of producing so many sizes per style and all of that. You can essentially do a capsule collection of 10 pieces and be in business. So it was a great way for me to still be in fashion and express a different side of my creativity.”

But it wasn’t until Totengco saw one of his pieces in a fashion magazine that he felt his place was affirmed in an often-brutal industry. “I was like, ‘OK, here we go! It’s gonna be a whirlwind, it’s gonna be great, it’s gonna be fun!’”

Audrey ad rinko

And what a whirlwind it’s been. Since his start in 1997, in addition to his namesake label, he has designed a collaboration collection with retail giant Target, has been recognized by prestigious organizations like the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Gen Art, and received the Pamana ng Pilipino Presidential Award from the Philippine government for bringing honor and recognition to his home country through his work.

The praise that he has garnered seems inevitable given his ability to draw inspiration from an “amalgam of different things.” For the fall season, he takes cues from graphic marbled floors in Venice (“[Everyone] was taking pictures of the frescoes, and I’m the only one taking pictures of the floor,” he laughs), a vintage photo of Eartha Kitt and Barbra Streisand featuring a leopard clutch, and the Art Deco aesthetic of The Great Gatsby. His pieces range from the structural Maryanne minaudiere, which he describes as one of his “iconic” designs, to practical zip clutches and totes, some of which are inspired by his time growing up in the Philippines.

Totengco is always prepared for visual inspiration, using both old-school and new-school technologies. He says that he always carries around his sketchbook, which he considers a type of “therapy” and a “second crutch” — it gives him a space to get all of his ideas out. But he also relies on his iPhone; an avid Instagram user, Totengco calls the popular phone application his “visual library,” a public space that enables people, both peers and customers, to get a glimpse into his world. Full of photos from his collections and various travels around the world, his feed lets people see where he draws his inspiration from. For Totengco, this allows him to nurture a close connection with his customers.

In a market flooded with big names and designer “It” bags, this intimate relationship is “something that’s really special” to Totengco, who’s more than pleased to have his small niche in the industry. “There’s a woman out there who wants something different [and] who wants to take the road less travelled,” he says. “There’s something authentic about what I do, [and] to me, that’s something I’m really proud of.”

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 10.19.13 AM

ON RAFE’S RADAR:

  • Go-to comfort food: Filipino food of course. Fortunately in New York I can run over to Jeepney, a restaurant in the East Village, to satisfy my craving.
  • On repeat on my iPod: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke.
  • Pet peeve: Ill-fitting clothes — on anybody.
  • Talent I’d like to have: I would love to be able to play the piano.
  • What I love about being Asian: There’s an automatic kinship when you meet a fellow Asian, this unspoken understanding that you “get” each other.

 

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here.