Thursday, January 29, 2009

Coveting couture

(Photo Credit -- Style.com)
There really is something unattainable about haute couture in the way that practicality is neglected for astonishment. However, I've learned a few lessons from a quick glance through the Spring 2009 Couture collections:
  1. You can wear bright gaudy colors together and still look like a prim-and-proper princess.
  2. Need. Fierce. Black. Heels. Who doesn't?
  3. Think smaller, not bigger -- when it comes to purses.
  4. Think bigger, not smaller -- when it comes to ruffles and pleats. And maybe hair.
  5. When in doubt, read Anna Karenina. "He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking," writes Leo Tolstoy. That's the kind of girl you want to be.
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Miss Couturable

Monday, January 26, 2009

Q&A, part 1

I was actually expecting to receive around 10 questions, so I'm going to divide the Q&A into two parts instead. Thank you so much for making me think!

I'm 13 and I have no idea what to do with my life! Help?

When I was thirteen, I was the biggest nerd in middle school and I wanted nothing more than to know that ten years from then, I would be everything I ever dreamed of. I'm now eighteen and I'm still nerdy -- but you know what? These issues and worries you have will be in the back of your mind for many years to come. Bake some cupcakes and have a picnic in the park with your friends and family; high school isn't getting any easier, and I'm quite sure college isn't either. I myself don't know where I'll end up in life, but I would be less motivated to take risks if I did. Email me if you want to talk personally! Being thirteen isn't easy.
If you had a porcupine, what would you name it?
Rodarte -- in homage to these epic Fall 2008 Ready-to-Wear shoes.
What time period from the past would you most like to live in?
I'm not so keen on real corsets, so maybe the late 1950s to the early 1960s because I really love the direction that the Christian Dior couture house took under Yves Saint Laurent. Also, Grace Kelly was Princess of Monaco at the time. Corruption existed in the form of McCarthyism, but the world was fundamentally changing and class still existed.
What do you think makes you so appealing to teenage girls?
Aw, you're too kind! I'm a teenage girl and most of my friends are teenage girls and all I can say is, teenage girls have more in common than we may think.
What boutiques do you like in the San Jose or San Francisco area?
In San Francisco, I love Ooma, Candystore Collective, and Dema. I also love the consignment and thrift shops on Haight Street -- but I've recently experienced firsthand the fun of thrift shopping across the bridge in Berkeley. In Milpitas, I'm a frequent purveyor of the Fornarina outlet -- but unfortunately, I've yet to find some favorite boutiques in the city of San Jose. Anne Fontaine is a favorite blouse shop in Santana Row though. Hands down though, bargain shopping is best at the Gilroy Premium Outlets. I almost think boutiques are overrated unless they really have a special niche for what you want -- such as indie designers.
What's your first choice college? What are your top three colleges? What colleges are you applying to?
Oh, the college questions. I'll end up where I belong.
What are your pet peeves?
Public bathrooms (I'm going to have some problems in college) and feeling forced to tell someone I like what they're wearing even when I don't.
What are your fashion basics?
I've played with the idea of having "basics" for years, but I've discovered that it's better to just buy statement (or fun) pieces instead. I guess, I have a huge collection of J. Crew tank tops and a giant variety of tights and stockings and socks though.
Who is your favorite designer?
She's dead. Coco Chanel rose above her restrictions in what was a male-dominated industry at the time (think Paul Poiret). Madeleine Vionnet inspires me too. I'm really all for the women who preceded the powerhouse and innovative designers of our era.
Crediting one of my best friends, Coco Chanel would say, "That's right, bitch."
What are your three favorite places to shop?
There are more than three, but I can't get enough of the sample sales in New York City. My life changed last summer.
Who is your current celebrity girl crush?
Korean pop star Hyori Lee. I like bubblegum pop and she's Asian.
What is the new job that you have?
I'm a receptionist and it has nothing to do with writing or fashion. Sorry, I wish I was writing for Vogue too.
What is the story behind the date you just got asked to?
I'm reluctant to turn this into a dating blog for obvious reasons. I'm happy that someone actually follows me on Twitter though!
If you had to choose: $1000 to Nanette Lepore, $2000 to James Perse, or $3000 to The Gap... which one?!
$1000 to Nanette Lepore. I'm such a labelwhore, hm?
What's your favorite food? Favorite restaurant?
I could eat sashimi (yes, raw fish) all day. As for my favorite restaurant, I recently went with my friends to Alexander's Steakhouse in Cupertino, California. I had Kobe beef and realized that I could never be a vegetarian. They also served lemonade cotton candy on a stick after the meal.
Can you please add me to your blogroll?
Send me an email, please! I rarely add blogs unless I obsessively peruse them every week, nothing personal.
What do you do in your spare time besides blogging and all your extracurriculars?
Spend time with friends and family, of course. I'm busy, but that's because I need to make time for both work and play.
I would love to know more about the details of your internship this summer.
Hehe, that's not a question. Just kidding; you can probably look through my archives for last summer and find some interesting information. I can't share anything specific though, because that's confidential.
Let's say I'm a Seventeen reader and want some general dating advice. What's your best tip?
You're dating a real person, so don't play games, be honest, and be open to surprises.

And now, my questions for you:
  1. What is something I need to know about you?
  2. If you could wake up anywhere tomorrow morning, where would you be?
  3. What's your favorite piece in your wardrobe?
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Miss Couturable

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Sunday Six: no more

I still​ find each day too short​ for all the thoug​hts I want to think​,​ all the walks​ I want to take,​ all the books​ I want to read,​ and all the frien​ds I want to see. -- John Burroughs
I might be getting backlash for this, but I am discontinuing The Sunday Six. If it's something worth blogging about, I will be writing about it anyways -- without The Sunday Six as a vehicle.

It also takes a huge chunk out of my Sundays. With only about six months left at home, 'tis about time to live as much as I write.

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Miss Couturable

P.S. Last day to post a question!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Love like this

I don't read romance novels (I couldn't even get through Twilight without cringing), but I've always believed in fairy-tale endings. Or fairy-tale beginnings, whichever way you look at it.

This is so much better than any Disney movie.

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Miss Couturable

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ask me (almost) anything

I get asked a lot of the same questions every day, and I have been doing much better when it comes to respond to all of the emails. Behind every blog, of course, is a real person (or a group of people) -- luckily for me, I've come to know so many amazing people through blogging.

Prolific (and much more successful) bloggers such as Miss at la Playa and Gala Darling have recently hosted a Q&A (Question & Answer) feature, which I've read with great interest during the late hours of night.

So ask me anything and everything, either by commenting on this entry or by emailing me. I will answer them on Monday, January 26th, 2009 -- quite possibly with my own questions for you. Hopefully, we'll get to know each other better (in that strange cyberspace sense).

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Miss Couturable

P.S. Become a fan of Miss Couturable on Facebook and join the Miss Couturable Blog Network on Facebook! Also, today marks my first Coutorture mention!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gossip Girl rumors: Nan Zhang

I don't know about you, but I've always wondered why Kati Farkas on Gossip Girl left the Upper East Side for Israel. It was such a random storyline and was especially suspicious after Nelly Yuki replaced her as the token Asian girl.

So, I interviewed the actress behind Kati Farkas, the beautiful and brilliant Nan Zhang, in an article for Mochi, an online magazine for Asian American girls that I am currently Fashion Features Editor for.

No, she did not leave the show because of a supposed dispute with Leighton Meester. No, she doesn't go to Brown University.

This girl can act and model and pursue studies in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University -- and was gracious enough to make time for an interview during one of the presidential election debates. And did I mention, she even gave me some advice on applying for college?

Read the exclusive article here.

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Miss Couturable

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fashion on my mind, as always

{houndstooth headband, sheer negligee dress from a questionable boutique in New York City, schoolboy blazer from the boys department at Nordstrom, sheer ribbed ankle socks from Target, Nanette Lepore ruffled booties}
I had my fifth college admissions interview today -- not only do I smell of eau de caffeine, but I'm coming to the realization that I have less than six months left until I graduate high school. I have friends who will be going into premed programs because they know they want to be doctors, friends who are entering engineering programs who don't even know if they want to be engineers, and friends who close their eyes and pick random majors. And somehow, all of these choices seem to make sense to me.

But not for me. Connie of Pretty Legit, who is graduating from college this year, explicates why she wants to pursue fashion journalism. And somehow, though she's four years older than, I can somewhat relate to her. Even though she's so much cooler than me.

I'm writing this because no one seems to understand why I don't want to major in fashion design or journalism in college. I'm writing this because I get laughed at for pursuing my interests -- that I've gotten numerous comparisons to Elle Woods from Legally Blonde (I'm not even blonde). I'm writing this because I don't equivocate fashion to shopping. I'm writing this because my thoughts have become distorted in my head and the only way I can come to a conclusion is through writing.

I grew up in Oregon (and then moved to California), where I got constantly teased on the schoolbus for having rainbow colored braids and wearing orange plaid skirts while my best friend was beautiful (yes, five year olds can be beautiful) with strawberry blonde hair and black Mary Janes. I was so shy and scared to speak up that I told the school bully that "it was okay" that she pulled out my hair. My mommy even had to chase off the neighborhood kids who taunted me after school everyday.

Also, I didn't speak English well either. So I hid myself in books and magazines and I fantasized about being a princess (and being an Easter bunny, but we won't go there). I was socially awkward throughout middle school too -- and I'm quite sure that my classmates in high school can attest to my current awkwardness too. I read lots of books and subscribed to lots of magazines because until high school, I really didn't know who I was. All I had was a bunch of identities I wanted to create.

My sophomore year of high school, I took a life changing course, AP Art History, and wrote a fifteen-page research paper about how Coco Chanel's lifestyle and designs were representative of the prefeminist movement. I was profoundly amazed at how art and fashion encompassed the political, social, religious, economic, and philosophical circumstances of the artist and the time period behind the pieces.

I know there are people (designers and gallery owners included) who would argue that fashion isn't art, and there are fine arguments to support that. However, I am arguing that fashion is art because there is something universally exquisite about it that can speak to a person whether or not they understand art, whether or not they understand fashion. According to Leo Tolstoy, "Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them." What's more human than fashion, than the ability to clothe oneself not merely for survival but for expression?

For a girl who can't draw too well and spent much of her childhood in muted speech poring over fashion magazines, fashion gave me a voice and an identity. There is genius involved in fashion, just as there is genius involved in anything that requires stretching the limits of the human mind. To be able to write about fashion, to be able to see fashion not for what it is but what it could become on the human body canvas requires a in-depth study of culture, art, history, politics, human anatomy, psychology, business, and movement. It's something I am still trying to perfect.

And perhaps, it is that drive for perfection that attracts me to fashion. I'm not talking about looking perfectly coiffed or dressing effortlessly chic (even when you know you spent two hours deliberating on how to achieve that look). I'm not even talking about having the latest Givenchy platforms, even though I think statement pieces are necessities if one is to embrace fashion. I'm talking about confidence. Confidence when it comes to making fashion faux pas, when it comes to walking to class in those four-inch stilettos, when it comes waking up in the morning and thinking not "What should I wear this morning?" but "What do I want to wear this morning?"

So no, I'm not going to major in journalism or fashion or communications, but that's not to say I don't take fashion or journalism very seriously. I see fashion academically, intellectually, economically, philosophically, creatively, practically -- perhaps even a bit spiritually. I see nothing trivial about it.

I've been told by many of my college admissions interviewers that it's hard for them to connect the dots between what I want to pursue at the school and what I want to pursue in fashion -- but for me, and probably even more for Connie who is entering the "real world" soon, it makes perfect sense. Now, if only I could communicate all of this in one concise sentence.

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Miss Couturable

P.S. Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Dallas Clayton writes:
I think if he were alive today
he would be surprised
by how infrequently we use water fountains anymore…

Also, excited about Obama.
My thoughts exactly.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Sunday Six: January 18th, 2009

Is this really the first Sunday Six of the year? I have a lot of blogging to catch up on, don't I?
  1. I don't care how old or sophisticated you are -- bathroom humor is still funny. Especially if it involves fathers: Gassy Getaway from My Dad is a Fob.
  2. I'm really obsessed with NOTCOUTURE whenever I'm bored. It's like a candy store for fashion.
    (Photo Credit -- Natalie So)
  3. The Primal Scream at Harvard University. Thankfully, Natalie censors the photos.
  4. Gala Darling of iCiNG asks, "If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give yourself in high school?" Be sure to comment on her blog because I'm totally interested in reading these responses (and there are prizes involved too!).
  5. Fantastically usable Ecofont, free for download. I always use this font for as many printed school documents as I can -- it uses up to 20% less ink.
  6. I Heart Daily is a relatively new website started by the amazing Melissa Walker (who used to be an ELLEgirl editor!) and Anne Ichikawa (who was also an ELLEgirl editor!). It's girly, always positive, and pretty.
Oh, did I mention that I'm finally a second semester senior? Finishing college applications was rather anticlimactic and I have no idea what my first semester grades are -- but I'm hoping I don't start using "Well, I'm a second semester senior" as an excuse for all of my blunders.

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Miss Couturable

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Education has style

Last summer, I was a seventeen year old determined to absorb New York City as much as I could within my two-month stay without breaking any laws.

Yes, that meant a lot of shopping was done. I spent an unreasonable amount of time scouring sample sales, vintage shops, department stores, and boutiques all over Manhattan and Brooklyn with only my subway map to keep me from getting lost. I also spent whole weekends in museums, from the Costume Institute to the American Museum of Natural History.

However, I am smacking myself on the head for overlooking the fantastic array of jewelry and accessories from the museum gift shops:
Why yes, I love pearls -- and Rembrandt, whose paintings apparently inspired these Baroque Pearl Earrings. Maybe a little "Girl with a Pearl Earring" by Vermeer too. Just speculating.
Stainless steel necklace?! Delicate and sturdy are opposites but the two words totally apply to this Pop-Out Leaves Necklace.
No really, I need a new wallet -- and instead of another Kate Spade, why not support Dutch designer, Hester Van Eeghen, with this Sunset Wallet?

Two summers ago, I bought a $25 metal shoe bookmark from the Met Museum Store. Five weeks later, I lost it while visiting a seamstress with the fashion designer I was interning with. I will never foolishly spend $25 on a bookmark again (it wasn't a very good bookmark in the first place), but there are some seriously nice items for sale in these museums.

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Miss Couturable

P.S. It's also nice to remember that the proceeds go to support the efforts of the respective museums. We all win in this case.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Don't disconnect me

I was never that fascinated with electronics. If it functioned properly, it was good enough. Save the money for the clothes, I thought.

But you know, I really like texting. And browsing the internet. And chatting on Google Talk. And Facebook. And Twitter. And checking my email obsessively. And obviously, talking on the phone like any other teenage girl. I'm embarrassingly a tech geek when it comes to socializing.

So my new smartphone, the Blackberry Curve 8310, just might be a blessing -- or a curse in disguise:

On one hand, I still remember an incident last summer at my internship for Seventeen when I still had a phone that couldn't check email (turns out all of the editors and interns had Blackberry phones). The location for the photoshoot had been changed and I, needing to get to the SoHo location from the Upper West Side by 8:00am, left my residence before the "change of location" email was sent out. You can probably guess what happened. I may never have this problem again.

On the other hand, I'm starting to sleep with my phone under my pillow. I'm not the only person who does this...right?

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Miss Couturable

Friday, January 2, 2009

New year, new look

Sure, Miss Couturable is on a posting hiatus because I'm trying to salvage what I have left of the first semester of my last year of high school -- but why not start off the new year (seniors '09!) with a new look for the blog?

Goodbye, giant black bow -- but no worries, there's still a bow on the header if you look closely enough. The header is made by the talented and lovely Brittany of Lace & Leather -- thank you so much (but I can never be thankful enough).

As a fresh 18 year old, I'm not the 16 year old I was when I began Miss Couturable, so it's time to grow up (just a lil' bit). We've come a long way. Check out the hiatus notice if you're interested to see what new things are also coming up! Thank you so much for following Miss Couturable -- as always, I can never be thankful enough for this either.

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Miss Couturable

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Nominate my blog, please!

As you may know, Miss Couturable was a finalist for 'best teen weblog' in the 2008 Bloggies. If you enjoy reading this blog, I am hoping that you can nominate it for 'best teen weblog' in the 2009 Bloggies! It would mean a lot to me, especially as I'm gearing up for fresh blog content for the new year and after first semester.

All you have to do is go to the website and enter 'Miss Couturable' at http://www.misscouturable.com for 'best teen weblog'. I'm quite sure that you have to fill in the other categories too though (you only need to nominate three different blogs total for your ballot to be valid!) -- so here are some of my suggestions for nominations!

'best fashion weblog'
Susie Bubble at http://www.susiebubble.co.uk
'best writing of a blog'
By Teresa Wu at http://www.byteresawu.com
Gala Darling at http://www.galadarling.com
'best group weblog'
Trend de la Creme at http://www.trenddelacreme.com
The Daily Obsession at http://www.thedailyobsession.net
I Heart Daily at http://www.iheartdaily.com
'best community blog'
My Mom is a Fob at http://www.mymomisafob.com
My Dad is a Fob at http://www.mydadisafob.com

Okay, there are more I'd like to list but there are just too many categories and too many great blogs that I can't make a choice from. Really, you should just check out my blogroll for some truly amazing blogs. Happy 2009!

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Miss Couturable