Thursday, April 29, 2010

Today....i'd like to remind myself that

What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger. 
Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Peculiar Painting: Conflict


This was painted back when I was 18 or 19 and was going through a hard time with someone in my family. One day, we held a garage sale as we were moving out and my father called me excitedly to ask if I was willing to sell my painting. A young couple bought it for $150 SGD. It's quite a huge painting, measuring approximately 1.5x1.5m. 

Chapter 10 - The Duality of Dilemmas or just mindless Drivel?

And so it is that i've come to oversimplify things once more. I've discovered the beauty of the inherent duality of life. There is good and evil, right and wrong, love and hate and a long list of other comparisons of this antipodal nature. They help simplify our lives with their diametrically opposite (but still inexplicably intertwined) natures. And then you begin to use this same theory and apply it all things especially in times of depression or desperation. In any one scenario, you always have 2 choices. The beauty of 2. You can choose to dwell on your problems or choose the better option of overcoming it. So here, we see the duality of problem vs solution, otherwise known as obstacles vs opportunities. I have seen and admire those who conscientiously seek out new opportunities when they encounter problems, to turn them into a thing of genius (something which I have yet to learn and hope to assimilate into my life). This stems from the inherent nature of all things. They are all schizophrenic but that doesn't mean we have to be. When one dies, another lives; when one weeps, another consoles. When one is angry, the other remains calm. That's the only way life could maintain it's balance. So it all boils down to that doesn't it? Balance, trite but true. There can be no harmony when two people disagree or hate each other. To live your dream or the dream of others? Everything or nothing. Life or the slow death of yourself. We vacillate between the two and that brings disharmony. This is the yin and yang of dilemmas which probably explains why smart men love stupid women and vice versa. Opposites do attract afterall, don't they, so that harmony can exist. So the question is: Can good exist by itself? I think not. Good very quickly attracts the bad. They co-exist together like day and night. How can there be good if bad doesn't exist? So thankfully for the bad monkeys amongst us, we have a chance to be good. Electricity itself is the flow of electrons in one direction and protons in the opposite direction. But together, they work in harmony so that you can find your way by isn't that beautiful? So I leave you with this. To live, you need to contemplate death. Each time you find yourself in a bad situation, remember there's also the upside and when you're in a good situation, remember the downside. Cest la vie! 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chapter 9 - Finding IT, Facing Fears and Fate

And so some people might judge me for the things I do and the choices I make. But I am unfazed. I have spent alot of time trying to find the one thing that I could do for a long time. We are all aware that one can only make real progress from years of mundane, laborious, sheer hard work at the core to achieve the level of greatness we desire. I tried endless ways to find it, to explore, to experiment with the things that I felt I was good at doing and those that I basically just found myself enjoying. And then slowly, from weeding those out, I found that one thing. I liken this to finding a life partner but really, love is mysterious and mostly I can't comprehend it so I shall not comment further on this one. It is true that things happen for a reason and at the time it is meant to. It will be a great tragedy and folly to think that time is lost or wasted. Because it really shouldn't be too late as long as your desire is there, and your desire is great, it could move the metaphoric mountain. At a certain point in my life, I was held back by great fear. Fear of changing the course I thought I was comfortable in, fear of facing the criticism and judgments of those around me, fear of rising up to the occasion, all of which were essentially the fear of taking risks amongst many other distractions and choices modern life presents you with. And so I gave in to it. Soon enough, you realise the more you submit to it, the less meaning life takes on. "Nihil timendum est", fear nothing. For when it comes down to it, it really only is fear that sets us back and which we have to confront persistently and look boldly and brazenly in the eye. I have just only begun my journey and it is a wild ride but then you keep taming it and taming it until it achieves your desired effect. And then you realize meeting your destiny takes hard-driving persistence and unwavering fidelity where moments of hesitation become intolerable. 

Peculiar Fetish: The Mulberry Alexa


The bag inspired by Alexa Chung. It is a tragedy that the oversized Mulberry Alexa is sold out. More evidence that the inherent power of choosing the right celebrity to market your brand could improve your bottomline very positively. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chapter 8 - Of Systems, Status quo and Surpassing them

When I was 15, I wrote an essay about the importance of promoting creativity and non-conformity. It seemed this notion of protecting what people are born with, started brewing a little storm since I was teenager. I felt grossly disgusted at the acceptance of norms and systems and mostly I was struggling with it. But now I realize that there is no need to struggle, you just rise above it. The only way to beat a system is not to wish for it to change but to absorb it and understand it and then only from within, armed with that knowledge, can you change it. You couldn't fix a car if you didn't know how it worked.  I remember someone once told me going to a male Gynaecologist is like going to a mechanic who never owned a car (I found that bloody hilarious). I keep talking about preserving individuality because time and time again i look at every individual and see their uniqueness. I see how much each of us with our disparate backgrounds and philosophies is capable of contributing so much more to the world. Only we are stuck. We settle for our cushy jobs or nestle in our comfort zones. But then who am I do give advice? I can only express what I truly feel for and am impassioned with. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to sleep soundly with my brain on overdrive, neurons in fierce fight.  I am uncomfortable with accepting status quo. I am uncomfortable with being told what to do so that leaves me in perpetual cynicism. It is my wish that we are all able to discover our true purpose and to believe in it with whole-hearted conviction and fight the good fight. Or you could be content living as a manufactured robot. That's the other option you have. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Random Scribbles

In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock. 
- Orson Welles (1915 - 1985) 

Note: The Borgias or Borjas were a Spanish-Italian noble family who became prominent during the Renaissance period and are remembered for their corrupt rule when one of them was Pope.

Random Scribbles

I came across some pretty witty lines filled with irony. They made me laugh. 

Once I had multiple personalities, but now we 
are feeling well. 
I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.
Hypochondria is the only illness that I don't have.
The best thing about being Schizophrenic is that I'm never alone. 
Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean that people aren't out to get you! 

Pretty clever, whoever wrote these. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Dresses She Made

Here is a rare photo of the dresses my mother designed. It's hard to appreciate it from this old, faded picture. For some reason, she always made dresses in 3s and I had to endure wearing exactly the same thing as my elder sisters! These dresses here have little pink hearts printed all over the white base fabric and was lined inside. I remember it being really airy and comfortable...and made us feel really pretty. She never had the luxury of time to continue making us more dresses as time passed. Commitments took over. As usual.

that's me in the middle when I had more curiosity in life...and my
enduring chubby cheeks...

Chapter 7 - My Mother, May

I remember how she used to sew us (I have 2 older sisters) the prettiest dresses and some really funky ones too. I had a hard time finding old photos of them but there is one (which I will feature later). She even sew matching bed covers, cushions and curtains! She was a natural at this for some reason. But unfortunately, she has always been too busy to pass on her skill. Now, she thinks it is too tedious. She had a thing for pretty hats, and here's a picture of her in one. She had a lovely collection but now they're just collecting dust somewhere. People look silly wearing hats in Singapore even though it's a sunny island, as they call it. She probably secretly wishes she lived some place else where she could show off her hats everyday....and I only recently discovered that her father was a tailor. But he passed on last year.
I never had the chance to get to know him as we were living here in SG and he in HK. 

during her happier days of yore when she did not have us 
to worry about
she's here on the right at 57 years old, but ravishing nonetheless 
(if only she'd agree) with her friend and celebrity, Cally Kwong 
and her dog, Cash, on the left
with my uncle on a holiday in one of her pretty bow hats....

Peculiar Fetish: Take heart


Those who have known me would speak of my "love" phase. i.e. I was buying and wearing anything with hearts. I love hearts. This is a page off my IDEA book and it features lovely rings shaped in hearts and a WORD ring that says "Love", very original designs that inspire me. Why hearts? They remind me to show love and have compassion in a world largely devoid of it. 

Peculiar Mission #4: Sarah's Corduroy meets Silk Pouches

evidence of her actually using it :)
my first attempt at making a fully-lined pouch!

It was one of my favourite friend's birthday yesterday. She's living in Auckland unfortunately for me but fortunately for her. I remember she was hunting for a coin pouch and so I made her a small little coin pouch and another all-purpose cosmetic pouch to throw all her "nonsense" in (as she would probably say). She's not all that organized (haha!) so this is to get her a little more in order. Some people prefer "order in chaos" and some live by "obsessive order". Either way, I am fine. I fluctuate between the two. So there goes, navy blue silk-lined pouches with printed corduroy. There! She has facebook-ed me a picture of her using it! I am happy. And I hope she will be happier this year. Mission accomplished! Happy Birthday!

Sarah, by the way is an extremely creative person. I hope to get her permission to feature her creativity. (Sarah are you reading this?) I remember the first purple corduroy tote bag she sewed by hand. I still have it and treasure it. She is an amazing woman. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Peculiar Fetish: Zebra Prints

This shot is taken by my friend. Two of my girlfriends both had zebra prints to show off. And they snapped this random shot which I thought turned out pretty cool. 

Peculiar Mission #3: Meet Blackout

I had some black fleece fabric and decided to try make a bunny. A funny bunny. This guy is stuffed with batting and fashioned from my rough patterning and sewing. His name is Blackout. I've always had a thing for bunnies since I was a child and I have a small collection of these stuffed versions. The real ones are cute but require some commitment to care for.  I like experimenting with things that I can make and this is just one of my "fun" peculiar projects. Blackout represents how the pure innocence we once held is lost through the dark passage of life. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chapter 6 - The Inevitable Adult, conformity & convictions

I thought the world was a beautiful place. Well, it still is. It's funny how we grow up thinking people will be nice, the world is good and everything will be wonderful. But then we suffer a savagely rude shock. So it really is a "dog-eat-dog" world and I am surprised humans have not resorted to cannibalism. It's a savage world out there! People aren't that nice (to say the least), the world is not as good and everything is far from perfect. I wonder if our parents and educators set us up for that. As though they could hide it from us anyway. As though by painting a pretty picture, the lies would somehow be hidden from view. Perhaps they forget that we all grow up and turn into the "Inevitable Adult". One who inevitably becomes more judgmental, more cynical and with a diminishing amount of curiosity and love in his heart. Perhaps in the process of conforming to society's norms, we have lost ourselves. Perhaps we should bring back abit of who we once were and what we have real conviction for. What are we really fighting for?

Peculiar Style Icon #3: Maggie Cheung

Images shown above are used for promotional purposes only and do not belong to The Fashion Peculiar.

And of course, there's screen queen, Maggie Cheung. Who could forget her? The one who made cheongsams look uber chic in "In the Mood for Love" and the colour "red" more sultry than it already is. Hers is a style that is timeless, classic, classy and yet extremely modern and chic. The way she mixes and matches her diamond-studded jewellery with almost everything, adds a touch of exquisite class. Exuding grace, fragility in femininity and a certain domineering strength at the same time. Peculiar Dresscode: Classy avant-garde which only she could carry off. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Peculiar Style Icon #2: Leigh Lezark

seen here with the bandage dress designer, Herve Leger
Images shown above are used for promotional purposes only and do not belong to The Fashion Peculiar.

And then there is Leigh Lezark. The party queen of cool. 
I like her unconventional style and taste for the avant-garde. Not typically womanly but attractive nonetheless, in her distinctive choice of black matched with strong, bold colours and queer dresses. Check out her "killer heels", Satin Peeptoe Sandal with Perspex Heel by Chanel. The heels are shaped like revolvers. It's pretty apparent. Her rebellious streak and disregard for mass appeal. An enigma to behold. Peculiar Dresscode: Rebel avant-garde.

Peculiar Style Icon #1: Alexa Chung

Images shown above are used for promotional purposes only and do not belong to The Fashion Peculiar.

So I can appreciate Alexa Chung's personal style for a few reasons. For her thrown-together looks that aren't pre-meditated (or they could be, but the point is, it looks un-premeditated)! For her not-too-perfect nonchalance, for inspiring us to hang ourselves with endless charmed necklaces and for her tom-boyish, not overtly sexy take on fashion. There are two looks that don't sit too well with me. The first is the overly polished look and the second is the in-your-face skanky-bordering-on-hooker look. Alexa strikes the right balance, so that works. Peculiar Dresscode: Nonchalant eclectic.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Today I'm wearing...

a simple fitted black and white dress...i dress in alot of black, if not, chunks of black somewhere. This is one of my favourite pairs of shoes: black Nine west peep-toe ankle boots! Classic with a twist. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Today I am wearing...

a pretty tight-fitted rose-printed dress. There are beautiful dusty pink roses amidst a coffee caramel background....sucha pretty printed fabric. Floral prints have been in fashion for quite awhile, everywhere you shop, you'd find them. I feel like I'm wearing a beautiful garden. This is floral chic. 

Had a chat with my super blogger friend last night, and she said blogs are about "cam-whoring"! So here goes, my narcissistic shot. Nothing quite like her beautiful pictures though. It's not a clear picture at all, the lights in my house are out today. 

Peculiar Fetish: I love geeks

I totally dig geek fashion. Too cool for school, lets be fools! 

Peculiar Profile: Michelle Sophia

I've met some pretty amazing people in my life. Some intrigue me with their intelligence, some make me laugh till it hurts, some inspire me endlessly with their ambition, some move me with their goodness. I always am thankful for them in ways they perhaps do not understand. Some of these people are incredibly talented without even knowing it. I look at each of them and I see their dreams lingering somewhere in their soul, in the way their eyes look at mine and in the way they light up when they talk about that one peculiar thing. I have seen their talent. Some gone to waste. Most just as unnoticed past times. This friend of mine is a natural at self-learning. She's a self-taught artist and photographer. I've linked her works on my blog. Scroll all the way to the bottom or connect right here  I am amazed by her work more than she seems to be. I will profile more people here, those peculiarities that I'm already well-acquainted with and the new ones I hope to meet. 

our escape, by michelle sophia

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chapter 5 - Let's move backwards

So I had this discussion with some friends on several occasions, over coffee or drinks or virtually over msn, that  we need to live backwards. Start with what you want. Start with what you love and work to get it. Identify your passion, know what makes you tick, find what you love. And don't stop till you find it. For the drive that you would experience would see you through all the shit life throws at you and the bullshit people would give you. You will experience a powerful impetus to achieve your goal with an amazing momentum quite unlike anything else. Don't sail through life hoping for that elusive something. Want that elusive something bad enough and life might just give it to you. Or rather, life will give it to you. I might have problems doing this in my favourite 3-inch heels but you know what? Let's walk backwards. Life's a balancing act anyway.

Some random sketches I did months's a shift dress with black lace running through the entire front panel of the there! I am working backwards to create the dress I want. 

 the first sketch
 the sketch transposed onto a model

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Peculiar Photography - "Fashionable" little me

So i found an old photograph of my grandfather, my sisters and I, taken in Ocean Park, HK (Yea, this is a reminder for those friends who have forgotten, my family is originally from HK).
You know one of those that you look pretty silly in? I can't imagine what my mom was thinking putting us in white-framed shades. I even recall having this "cool" half-stuffed toy, half-bag pig slung around my waist which I couldn't leave home without! I still have it! 
I laugh each time I look at this.

Peculiar Photography - Completely Random

    my sewing machine, mac and mess of a table
    the chair i sit for hours on
    my dog, Pony staring into oblivion while I'm sewing

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chapter 4 - Fabulous or frivolous?

For those who have just tuned into my blog, this place is where you will hopefully re-discover your talents and dreams and to give them a second chance. For those who have given up, maybe it's time to re-visit those dreams. Pause, take a breather. Stop whatever you're doing and think about the things you've always wanted to do. I am currently learning how to make clothes but due to my hectic schedule, I am not able to make as many as I would like. I'd upload my creations as soon as they are done. So stay tuned while I ponder about life, our immaculate dreams and abit of frivolity and frippery (which we can't do without)! 

In the Peculiar Wardrobe: Wayfarers


The classic Ray-Ban wayfarers popular in the 50's and 60's have made a comeback in a myriad of eclectic shades and quirky designs. Everyone seems to be hankering after these wayfarers. It has that classic, retro and fashionable factor all rolled into one. This pair is from a friend and it's not a real wayfarer. It's a modified version! Hip nonetheless. And yes, it's rather sunny in my room.

In the Peculiar Wardrobe: Black Chunky Shoe Boots


One of this season's must-haves. The utterly desirable chunky black boot that goes with just about anything from frilly frocks to bolder, more masculine outfits. Perfect with bright, bold coloured dresses with a tailored fit. Black boots. The bigger the better. The bolder the statement. But definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Peculiar Mission #2: A new lease of life & opting for a little unkemptness

So i've decided my ass has gotten abit too large to fit into my skinny grey jeans. Skinny jeans are not made for humans. I thought I was classified under skinny until I tried them on. After 1 day of suffering in my skinny jeans, I decided to transform them, to give them a new lease of life. It's nothing new. If you are sick of your old clothes or succumbed to the fact that you look hideous in them, don't throw them yet! Fabric is precious! Opt for the environmentally-friendly option of transforming it. You don't want to kill another coupla cute cotton plants to make yourself look good now, do you?

the very suffocating pair of skinnies
the liberating minis

I am too lazy to pack my table or crop the pictures, so don't mind the mess. Oh and then there's me in the skirt above, looking abit awkward from my tallness. I was called Xena for a night. Anyway, that's another story for another day. The grey skirt is the subject of this entry. So there it is. Rugged, distressed, grunge grey denim for a less feminine look. All that passive, elaborate femininity bores me. A little unkemptness is always good.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Peculiar Mission #1: The Virgin Dress

So the dress is finally complete. I think i've spent an estimated 7 to 8 hours on this dress. Since it is the first dress i have made and also because of it's 50's pin-up cherry-prints, it shall be called The Virgin Dress, for a lack of creativity. I will take a photo when I next wear it so you can fully appreciate the tailored cut of the dress. Yummy?

front boat-neckline


back v-neckline


Friday, April 9, 2010

Chapter 3 - If you can't ignore it, it probably means something

One of my mom's staff who has been with us since I was a young girl would relate to me how I used to come into my mother's office and start sketching girls who were immaculately dressed, complete with brilliantly coloured couture, high heeled shoes and always a pretty handbag in her hand...

I was probably around 7 or 8.

Later at 18, when I wanted to study fashion design, those dreams were un-pursued for more "practical" reasons of securing a job which meant a shelter over my head and food enough to satisfy my ever-growing appetite. It's the dreaded head vs heart dilemma we all face from time to time. At this juncture, I went completely with my head. My first job was as a copywriter for a spa in town and I had left school for that. The next few years took me through self-discovery as I started writing furiously year after year.

At 28, a decade after, 10 years after I've abandoned my dreams, i realized they never left me. They were there all this while reminding me of how neglected they were. So I've learnt that if something keeps coming back to you no matter how hard you try to ignore it, it probably does mean something. These are the times you should take heed. These are probably what the more religious people term their "callings". Yea, they sure seem to be calling out to you. Except mine was so suppressed, it was almost yelling, howling, screaming out to me. I mean we're talking about almost 10 to 20 years of total abandonment. There are some things in life that you always wake up to in the mornings. And i think those are the things that you really want to do or make something out of. This is one of them.

It was dying a slow painful death and I had to set it free. Some tell me I should have followed my heart.

Chapter 2 - Almost ripe for picking!

So I am currently learning how to design and sew clothes from a dressmaker. She has been in this trade for 40 over years and I am lucky to learn from her. She has a tremendous amount of patience. Maybe sewing does that to you (I do admit I need that). And that is an additional benefit from investing time in a hobby that you love.

This is the first dress i've ever made in my life. I am an amateur, but a rather ambitious one. These are the two patterns that i've cut out for a simple dress with the cut inspired by Audrey Hepburn. It will have an elegant boat neckline and a deep-V at the back. I like that it's very modest in the front and abit playful at the back. The print is more of a 50's pin-up style.  It should be completed in another day or two! There are hidden slit pockets at the side to boot!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chapter 1 - Preserving individuality

I started this blog in early 2010 with a nagging thought in my head. It is one of those things that writers always talk about. One of those things that refuse to leave your mind no matter how hard you try to dismiss them or chuck them aside. This is the story of that thought. This blog is an outlet for that thought. A breathing space, a stage, a book, a life line to that thought that was yearning for attention.I've always held a keen observation of people and especially children and whilst growing up, I pondered over how most people ended up living a similar kind of life. It was as though life was that simple. 5 steps. Study, work, get married, have children and then have an affair. And repeat that all over again. Ok so maybe I have a tendency to oversimplify things, but you get the gist of it. I found it extremely hard to comprehend how each of one us, with such disparate backgrounds and personalities could all fit into one general mould of life. It was this that was incredibly disturbing. And i think i never found peace with that. Life is diverse. Our thoughts are ingeniously diverse. Who we are and what we were meant for far exceeds what society has shaped us for. People are born for very different and special missions. If we do in this lifetime, give ourselves a chance to discover that, we will be incredibly happy. Deliriously happy. So it is with this, that i live. This is how i breathe. Follow me as I tell my story through a completely far- flung and unexpected medium - i bridge my thoughts of the world into what my hands were made to do.