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Saudi Born, European Educated, Hong Kong situated fashion loving Editor and Fashion Director in the luxury publishing sector

Monday, October 15, 2012

Shoe Love = Shove


Shoe + Love = Shove

An intense bond and sense of attachment to your better half on either side. A devotion to the duo who keep you upright in the best of times and give the occasional little lift when necessary.

After the ongoing Isabel Marant platform sneaker debate I've bitten the bullet bought two pairs and have been staring at my feet ever since (serious health hazard in packed nightclubs).

I've also been singing Shoe Love to the tune of Guy Love from Scrubs constantly.

 I've hummed it, sang it (shockingly), danced to it and even tried doing Gangnam style to it and have come to realize that shoe love is kinda magic, deserves its own word and should be called shove from now on.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Havaiana Wanderlust

Working in publishing is fun, challenging and creative. It is probably one of the few professions where I can utilize my law degree (writing) finance masters (business meetings) and my inherited obsession with DIY crafts (comes in handy for the old studded collars now and again).

So when my editor-in-chief informed me that our next issue of one of our magazines was to feature a sculpture made out of Havaianas flip flops I didn't bat an eyelid...until she told me that I was going to make it. 

And when 12 kilos of flip flops arrived courtesy of Electric Sekki my first reaction was to call my mum, the woman is a craft master: teddy bears, quilts, hats, sculptures, stained glass windows, ceramics, pottery....the list goes on. You name it and she's done it. But somehow I didn't think flip flop's were her forte so asked our Chief instead who showed me two very large weird and wonderful wooden sculptures and a box of nails. The rest as they say is history.

Here is a sneak peek!

All photos courtesy of the wonderful photographer Lucy McNally

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Savvy Suiting

Savvy Suiting

I love a man in a suit…..scratch that…..I love a man in a GOOD suit, a GREAT suit, we’re talking Tom Ford Black with a crisp white shirt underneath (nice little article about it here), a pair of Bulgari cufflinks and some Valentino shoes.  Throw on a Hermes tie and you’re good to go.  If I were a man – and I’m very happy I’m not – I would go full on every day, because the alternative is so much drearier. 

Esquire is the top google hit for style advice for workwear for men.  Unfortunately whoever takes care of their fashion section is rubbish, they advise men to saunter into the office wearing a hot pink and white stripe shirt, with a red and navy silk paisley tie.  Get real Esquire.  People who wear suits usually have to be in the office for 7 AM and the last thing they want to think about is trying to mix and match stripes and florals. (The picture is too ugly to put on my pretty post but you can see a tiny portion of the fashion train wreck below).

To Avoid this....

My tip.  Keep it simple!

If you are a conformist, an investment banker, a lawyer, a medic, a public servant or a business man in the traditional sense, then there is very little room for manouvre around the confines of the stereotypical suit.  Barristers may be the exception to the rule (as are headhunters).  I’ve met two men throughout my life who find it necessary to wear three piece suits every day.  Personally I wonder what they wear at weddings and black tie events, but it’s probably a top hat with a cane no doubt.  Anyways both of these men were quite ahem rotund….and looked slightly foolish.  They both were pompous, had small man syndrome and had read the food pyramid upside down.  My point is leave the three piece suit at home unless you are Prince Charles or Harry.

Different professionals in various industries and even countries are prone to a few different fashion crimes.  Here they are done out in an excel sheet….(Professionals LOVE excel….it makes me kind of dizzy)

Fashion Crime
Middle Eastern
Trying to look like John Travolta in Grease but in a suit: Too tight, too greasy, too shiny.  Wet look hair gel is so over
Dressing like its Independence day, every day of the week.  We are over the red, white and blue combo….please get over it too
Horrible shoes.  Go to Italy, find the oldest man in Milan and get him to tell you how important Italian leather shoes are…pronto!
Brown suits, it is not camel, it is brown, and it is not the 70's anymore
Seiceáil léinte, tá tú ag obair i mbanc, ní ar fheirm, nó i gclós lumber. Seiceáil léine le comhionannas vótaí atá ar whammy dúbailte ... Ugh
Vos pantalons sont trop serrés et vous ne pouvez plus respirer, donc vous êtes coupable de virer au bleu.  Pas cool….pas cool du tout.

So what should a man wear to work?  After living and travelling in a variety of different countries and previously working in the banking sector I have come up with a formula.  It’s easier for the bankers to understand it this way.

A = One ridiculously well tailored suit, if in Asia get it tailored, if not go into Hugo Boss, and if you’re really serious about the process go into Tom Ford.  My choice is black – other people may say otherwise, but a black suit will always get my attention and looks very sharp...if it's good enough for Mr. Bond...

B = Crisp white shirt, personally I don’t see the point in getting shirts tailored, and you do not need to spend a fortune on this aspect of the outfit.  Save the money that you don’t spend here for the Hermes Tie you’re about to buy.  Marks and Spencers or Thomas Pink shirts will suffice.  Buy five, one for every day of the week.  Ask any woman and she’ll tell you that you cannot go wrong with a white shirt on a man.  Try out different materials, different white patterns and have fun...but only in the white department of the store.

C = The most important part.  ACCESSORIES.  I cannot stress it enough.  Inès de la Fressange (Chanel muse and fashion superstar) has always emphasized the fact that looking stylish is all about the accessories upon a simple canvas.  So invest in that Hermes Tie, try out a cravat!  Invest in classic yet unusual accessories and cufflinks.  Buy that tie pin, moneyclip, Bally man bag and let your accessories do the talking for you.  

Winning Formula: A + B + C = Savvy Suiting

Photos coming soon. For now check out the following websites

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Red Sofa Story

I have a big red problem in the form of a sofa, and I love it....but it's on the verge of turning my living room into Graham Norton's interview studio.

My love of gold (growing up in Saudi Arabia has this effect on women) and my Philippe Starck gold gun lamp  are not doing anything to help the situation. 

 Therefore, in order to make the living room less Playboy Mansion and more Little House on the Prarie I've decided to add some classic touches.  Gold Antique Framed pictures of the beautiful Carmen Dell'orrefice will be added to inject some elegance.  

She will be framed by a handmade gold leaf vintage picture frame inspired by a DIY Gold Leaf Chalkboard I stumbled across on my pinterest travels.  I also found this House and Home DIY Gold Leafing Video which is useful.

While googling painted vintage furniture I discovered Painted Pretty Furniture Blog and paid a visit to my old faithful Shabby Chic.  Both of these websites are great for some home inspiration just don't forget to add a bit of an edge to your interior design and inject your own personality into it.  We all love Laura Ashley but there's enough time for that when we're 80 going around with purple rinses in our tightly permed hair!

I'm also going to look for some Vintage Chinese Trunks and distress them using this tutorial.

DIY is in my blood and my mum turns anything she touches into a work of art from quilts and candles to jewelry and teddy bears.  For my 10th Birthday she organized a brilliant party where my friends and I all made venetian masquerade ball masks.  So much fun!  

Will do some before and after pictures and post them up once everything is finished.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Filthy Magical Baubles

It's Typhoon 8 in Hong Kong, my friend told me that the last time this happened he saw a cow fly by his window.  Naturally, I got very upset about this and spent the morning running around Hong Kong tying down all the cows.  

Now that all of the cow's are secure I can tell you about filthy magical baubles.  

I discovered two amazing jewellery websites thanks to Stripes and Sequins Blog.  Bauble Bar is a savage (awesome, fantastic, sweet, cool, rad, substitute as you see fit) website.  Matt neon set in classic metal settings make for some pretty neck candy.
Unfortunately this isn't in stock anymore but I'm sure a little e-mail could move the manufacturing machine along.

I also love anything monogrammed and personalized, when I was 18 my dad wrote my name in arabic and got a jeweller to make it into a gold ring in his handwriting.  I haven't taken it off since.  Unfortunately Dervla is pronounced Jerbila in the Middle East and the jeweller's exact words to me were, (thick Arabic Accent for full effect), 
"Jerbila ees verry verry ugleee een Arrrabic....choose a deefarant name."

So my dad suggested my middle name Catherine.  

"Much Betta een arabie", was the jewellers response...

If they call Pepsi into Bebsi, and Birthday into Birzday, then I guess Dervla can be Catherine in the Middle East.

These monogrammed friendship bracelets allow you to personalize three names, so they are perfect gifts for your girlfriends or your mom.

Bauble Bar 3 Name Friendship Bracelet

There are so many other great finds so go onto the website and check it out.

Next on the list is Filthy Magic.  I wanted everything from this website so I was happy when I saw the super friendly prices.  It's a great place to shop if you want to try out a few new jewellery trends without breaking the bank.  Here are some of my favorites.

Buy Nail Ring here Only $14 US!
Buy Shirt Collar Necklace

Buy Horn Ring here Only $17 US

There is so many more great pieces so check both of these sites out

Friday, June 29, 2012

Vintage Pop Up Shop June 29th and 30th

After 4 hours of Visual merchandising and trying not to buy the Gucci Boots that are begging me to take them home (more on that below) the Vintage Pop Up Shop at Noho House is ready to go.  Personally I think Simon Doonan would be proud!

We're only open today and tomorrow and everything is for sale, down to the beautiful white Laura Ashley-esque furniture and the vintage framed posters.  

So grab your mother and friends and enjoy a glass of wine while you purchase designer clothes and support Redress NGO with every item bought.

Today (June 28th) and Tomorrow (June 30th)

NoHo House
3 Shin Hing Street
Hong Kong

11AM - 8PM

Here are some of the great pieces that are looking for new homes
Gucci Boots

Lace Up Italian Boots
Pucci Jacket

Giuseppe Zanotti Heels

Christian Dior Biker Boots

Going nutty for nuts

Day 3 as a vegan has commenced....

Day 3 of overdosing on peanuts and dried mango has also commenced....

Day 3 of walking into a shop and not being able to buy ANYTHING to eat has also commenced....

But....I feel great and after some research on google I have found out about the many lovely things I can eat instead of mangos and peanuts....

I will miss Ranch Dressing but will replace it with hummus :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Animal Lover's Diet

What do Lea Michelle, Natalie Portman, Elijah Wood and Alicia Silverstone all have in common?

They are all vegan.

This term has been written about, blogged about, and is enjoying a cult following.  So I've decided to take on this trend and delve a little deeper. 

It started last week....

Incident 1: I was going about my usual morning routine and cracked open my hardboiled egg.  What I found underneath was a fluorescent yellow boiled egg...my stomach turned and I was put off eggs straight away and haven't touched one since.  To all of you who think double yolks are lucky...think again, personally there is nothing lucky for your body about a genetically modified egg.

Incident 2: I have to walk through a wet market (open food market) every morning and evening to get to work.  The smell of raw meat....the jumping fish being sold still alive....and seeing the same pigs head hanging for a month finally wore me down.  Every time I thought about eating meat my stomach went weird and I opted for something else.

Incident 3: I looked a bit further into it and watched "Meet your Meat" (video below) please be warned it has some very graphic content.  This was the final straw and my chicken satay, beef stir fry and honey ham days are well and truly over.

Following the above 3 incidents it has been surprisingly easy to take on the 30 day vegan challenge.  Yesterday was easy as the thought, taste and smell of anything animal related makes me kind of queasy.    I am also staying away from palm oil (which costs the lives of over 1,000 Orangutans a year).  Have a look at the below video.

I have discovered that palm oil is in everything...it's difficult to find food that it is not in, but I love monkey's so it's worth it.  I could never hurt an animal or butcher it, and therefore I don't think it's fair to eat it.  Try it for a day if you want to challenge yourself, it's way easier than you think.

I plan on looking further into this, vegan high fashion, a celebrity cook book with only vegan recipes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Roger Vivier gets bejewelled in "A Queen Forever"

A girl can never have enough jewels or shoes.  Now you can have both thanks to Roger Vivier!

In celebration of the Diamond Jubilee, the Creative Director of Maison Roger Vivier, Bruno Frisoni created "A Queen Forever".  The diamond-enrusted shoe is truly fit for royalty and was hand crafted in coordination with The East India Company.  The shoe was inspired by the original shoe designed for the Coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II.  

If you would like to view this once in a lifetime dazzler, you can book an appointment at Roger Vivier London or experience it afterwards at the diamond "Brilliant Exhibition" Masterpiece Fair in london from june 28th to july 4th 2012.  

An Aramco Brat in Sand Land

Growing up in Saudi Arabia had a profound effect on me.  Here are a few things that I remember.

1. Everyone could do a perfect Indian Accent and therefore would be perfect employees of Sky Digital Customer Service

2. All of the snack bar staff was called "my friend"

3. A five star Shawarma came from golden juice corner in Khobar

4. A 1 star Shwarma came from the snack bar stuffed with mayonnaise and french fries

5. Sid is the illegal version of Bacardi Rum, the only thing that will counteract the petrol taste is mixed fruit juice saudi style

6. Saudi Sandals suddenly made a statement in the year 2005 when the GOLD versions came out.  Those who had them kept their mouths firmly shut about where they got them,  and simply mentioned a vendor called Abdullah and chuckled while they walked away from the confused enquirer

7. The sound of a microwaves beeping at early hours of the morning and parents waking up with no food left in the fridge on a weekly basis.  A result of some funny plants...I will say no more

8. Thinking you were the shizz if your parents had suped up your golf cart 

9. Coca Cola costing 1 Riyal thats 26 cents US.  And the outrage that ensued when it was raised to 1.50 Riyals

10. Thinking you were badass if you drank non alcoholic beer

11. Note to younger self: On the first day of Kindergarten do NOT pick the piglet as your year long cuddly toy.  Social faux pas at age of 6

12. Thinking that the person at customs who had the job of coloring in all the scantily clad girls in bikinis must have loved his job

13. My brother and his friends being arrested 4 hours before their flight back to boarding school for chasing camels on quads in the desert.  They ruled out farming and herding as job options following this

14. "Give it to me your ID"

15. Getting caught speeding on the golf cart...not realizing it was possible to speed in a golf cart

16. Hiding my many purchases in my best friends house (next door neighbor) and shuffling them through our connecting garden gate into my room after my parents went to sleep

17. Having a golf course in the backyard and not using it once

18. Trying to sell green scones (too much baking soda) at the commissary by wrapping them in colorful paper age 10....my mum getting a lot of phone calls...my dad seeing a lot of patients with food poisoning

19. The weather constantly being at 114 degrees because if it got too hot certain people couldn't work...something illegal in that somewhere

20. A certain someone believing that there was a special chartered flight from Abqaiq to Khobar.  Abqaiq and Khobar are only 69 kilometres away, 47 minutes in a car which would have meant a ten minute plane ride...it being funny forever

21. Atcha Batcha

22. Getting yelled at by Omar the lifeguard, for getting into the jacuzzi or sauna before you turned 18.  Spending the next three hours trying to get back in.

23.  Being forced to work as a lifeguard by your parents to make yourself useful during your time off college....not listening in class...spending every minute working hoping nobody ever drowned

24.  Getting my mum to cook lasagna (his favorite food) for the lifeguard instructor who was grading us later that day....him telling me I was lucky that my mum was such a good cook when I got my certificate

25.  Becoming very good at intensely timed shopping due to prayer times 

Please e-mail me at dervlalouli@gmail.com if you have anymore you'd like me to add

Fast Fashion to slow down in 2013

We all know the initial cheap thrill of rushing into H&M or Primark and finding a dress that we have literally seen only a few weeks previously on a catwalk.  It doesn't last long though, in fact it probably lasts only 5% as long as the high you got when you purchased that Italian leather handbag that you saved up for and had been coveting for months.

This is the problem with fast fashion and in a way I am quite happy to say that in 2013 it is looking set to slow down.  I have always been drawn to quality items and will happily pay a lot more for something that will last me through many seasons.  

Take for example the Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Hillier Hobo
I wanted this for a year before I finally purchased it.  They still produce it every season and the leather is so soft.  Black leather with gold accents is an expensive and elegant looking combination.  I use this bag for casual events and for work as it fits all my documents.  It is a bag that has been loved and used and abused and I still have that thrill from the day I finally got it.

Image courtesy of Marc Jacobs

Moving onto a classic, the Chanel 2.55 is a bag that can be dressed up for the evening, and down for the day is the Chanel 2.55. This bag is an investment but one that you will give to your daughters one day.  In addition it also has enough pockets and secret compartments to keep even Sherlock Holmes happy.  Be warned, your friend, sister, mother and grandmother will all be asking to borrow it.  Say yes, this bag looks better after it has been loved a lot.

 Image courtesy of Chanel

Once you have these you can buy all those fast flash neon pieces from high street shops for "purse friendly" prices.  Because lets face it Coachella only comes around once a year and neon pink kinda looks better on 6 year olds.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Sandals

As I was walking by the window display at H&M this morning these caught my eye.  
Very pretty for summer and so easy to wear with casual or dressy outfits.
Purse friendly too!

Shoes $17.95 H&m

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Best of Net-A-Porter Sale

For those of you with a habit for impulsive shopping cut your credit cards in half before heading to the Net A Porter online sale.  I did a virtual closet shop in the hope that my luxury shopping addiction will be curbed.

Fluffy Oscar de la Renta marshmallow dresses, gothic Alexander McQueen Galore, Valentino, Lanvin and Yves Saint Laurent to name a few.


Heres the Best of the Best

My personal favorite


Tiered silk-gazar mini dress

Was £2,421.74 Now £1,210.87 50% OFF
Lanvin Silk-Gazar Mini Dress

Everything can be found at Net-A-Porter but be quick many of the best items are going fast!

And last but not least from Yves Saint Laurent, because everyone needs a bit of crazy in their life!