Aguilera on the new campaign ads of Stephen Webster

My Shopping Conquest #02

Gucci Silver Trim Open Stud Thin Belt

I have written here before that I am a fan of runway items. I have been eyeing on this silver trim thin belt by Gucci for a few weeks now. Was not 100% convinced that I like it to the extent that I want to own it. However, after the Gucci fashion show last Tuesday, this belt left a lasting impression on me, it seems I cannot get it off my mind. So many things I like about the belt. I love the patent sliver leather trimmings contrasting against the black shiny leather. The many open silver studs and the signature horsebit ring buckle are also very interesting. A belt this skinny somehow exudes a nonchalant 'biker glam' look when slung on the waist of skinny jeans or shorts. During the runway show, this belt glistens on the models and i thought to myself the belt was perfect for evening events. Very eye catching.

Initially, I had wanted to transfer the item to the Takashimaya store so I can get my 6% rebate from my Takashimaya Amex card...and also use the vouchers I amassed to offset this purchase. But the SA whom I know might have not checked properly and told me it was not available for sale. I anticipated this would happen. Seems the SAs do not know their product range very well. So I head down to the Gucci Paragon store to confirm and to my suspicions, the belt was there, on the shelf beckoning to me. Wonder what the communication error was. Maybe there is an internal politics to see who gets the sales commision. :-P

Anyways, I want to avoid any hassle and bought the belt at the Paragon store. Decided that I forgo the rebate. It was not a lot of points that I can collect from this purchase anyway, so it was no big deal.

Only 3 pieces of this belt were brought into the store. 2 were on display on the mannequins. If only they had brought in more runway pieces, I could be a big customer for them:-P

Retail price: SGD $510. Where to buy: Gucci Boutique at Paragon

My Shoe Collection #23

HE by Mango Black Leather Strap Sandals

One afternoon of being in Orchard Road, and I end up shopping uncontrollably...I thought I had survive a saturday without any purchase and was proud of that. That is not the whole truth:-P Okay, I admit I did drop by Orchard Road today because I want to get a Gucci if I come to think of it...I put myself in this situation. hahaha.

Oh well, was passing by Mango store at Shaw Centre and decided to check out Mango Menswear again. Was not really impressed the first time I saw the collection. But the sandals left a good impression on me. Reminds me of my Gucci Sandals except the leather strap is broader.

I went into the store this afternoon..seems they have gotten some new items. A few belts and new sandals. There were 2 different strap sandals available on my first visit, but now what's left was the black version with a toe ring. I was skeptical to buy the sandals at first, as the sole was too round for me. I prefer streamline shaped soles. Slender and long. However, just as I was about to leave the store, a couple came in and the boyfriend tried on the sandals the minute I put it back on the shelf. It looked really good with his skinny jeans ensemble. Immediately, the 'green light' in me buzz, and I was sold for the sandals.

In order to curb any impulse purchase, I got out of the store and linger around 'That CD Shop" for a while before I decided I will get it as the price was not too expensive. It will be a good alternative for my Gucci strap sandals and I have yet to own a pair of strap sandals in black. Plus, it will match the skinny stud belt I just got from Gucci!

Made a return to the store and asked for a new pair from the SA (the one on display looks a bit disgusting...the sole was dirty..yikes!). So this is the story of how I got my first HE by Mango item.:-P

Retail price: SGD $99. Where to buy: Mango Boutique at Shaw Centre

My Shoe Collection #22

DKNY Gold Leather And Mesh Sneakers

I am pretty good at sniffing out a good bargain during sale time. Even for the most underdog items or labels. So one fine day a few years back while shopping at Isetan Wisma Atria, Men's Department, I came across this pair of beautiful gold trainers by DKNY. At that time, metallic colours for men were never heard of...this pair of trainers was over the top and pushing boundaries for most men. Hence, even when I did not buy it at the first instance I saw it, I could still get my hands on it during sale time. So in the end, I paid a good price for a pair of shoe which is still very relevant till this day.

Made from a fabric mesh material with gold metallic leather and a blue suede trim, this pair of sneakers is light weight and comfortable. More fashionable than sports performance.

Retail price: Approx. SGD $119. Where to buy: DKNY Counter at Isetan, Wisma Atria

My Shoe Collection #21

Dolce Gabbana Snake Skin Pointy Lace-ups

I am crazy about exotics...if money is not a problem...I'd buy all sorts of exotics.:-P I dun think this statement will go very well with any environment conservationists. However, I do feel the need now to steer clear of endangered animal species and I will start by buying less leather items. To make my conscience feel better, I will do my part in animal conservation...but not before I own a piece of snake skin leather shoe or a croc skin bag. Hahaha.

So with this Dolce Gabbana pointy lace-ups...I am half way there. Made from brown snake skin leather, the pointy toe design shouts dapper chic. Goes well with distressed jeans or suit pants.

I bought this pair of shoe during I did not pay the full hefty price tag that goes with snake skin. I miss Dolce Gabbana's sexy look for the house. This pair of shoe belongs to the Fall Winter 2005 collection which featured beaded Superman distressed tees (which i absolutely adored!) Opulent, decadent and so Dolce Gabbana! Now it is just getting tardy and boring. Hopefully things will change in the future, might have to wait a few seasons more. The next fall winter collection is not appealing to me as well. In the meantime, fortunately I still have my old Dolce Gabbana items to tide me thru this stale period....

Retail price: SGD $1199. Where to buy: Dolce Gabbana Boutique at Hilton Hotel

My Shoe Collection #20

Bottega Veneta Lizard Skin Sandals

I immediately love this pair of Bottega Veneta lizard skin sandals the moment it got featured as a must-buy from a menswear buyer in I had already own the crocodile version and thought this lizard version was even better looking. The same design principles have been applied for this lizard variant, crafted with real lizard skin and imprinting a lizard illustration on the soles.

I got this pair of sandals just before Chinese New Year a few years back(2006). Got it exchange once as I bought size 40 which was too small. Despite the inconvenience, I am always pleased about this purchase. Have admired it for many months, yet still have not gotten to wearing it. One thing is for sure, this pair of sandals feels way much more comfortable with softer leather as compared to the dreadful and painful crocodile version.

BTW, this design is no longer available. And prices have increased for sandals in this range.

Retail price: Approx. SGD $640. Where to buy: Bottega Veneta Boutique at Takashimaya

My Bag Collection #24

Jil Sander Patent Metallic Leather Travel Bag in Copper (THROW AWAY: BAD QUALITY)

Fall Winter 2007 was a season of metallic colours. Metallic colours were all over, in shoes, in clothes, and of course, in bags as well. Metallic colours first started off in women's collections but slowly officially filter down big time into the male gender in fall winter 2007. As an avid follower of fashion trends, I picked up on the metallic hit as soon as I saw the runway looks for that season.

So while I was travelling in Paris last August, I had already planned to scout around and see if I can pick up some interesting metallic coloured items to bring home to Singapore. I was not disappointed. As a fashion capital of the world, Paris stocks up the trend very quickly and I easily spot metallic colours in all forms in the shops. I got a silver Dolce Gabbana belt and this Jil Sander travel bag in copper.

When I first lay eyes on this travel bag, I fell in love with it. Copper was not a common metallic colour, much less patent metallic leather bags. I thought to myself I will be a trendsetter to be seen with this bag in Singapore. But I left the Jil Sander boutique in Avenue Montaigne empty handed as the bag comes with a hefty price tag and I was torn over Bottega Veneta patent captoe shoes and Gucci green checks shirt(which I eventually got when I get back to Singapore).

That day was a fine day of shopping, had already bag 2 new bags, one from Bottega Veneta and one from Paul and Joe, so buying a third bag was making me feel guilty. And I worry about the problem of transporting the bag home. But the bag kept lingering in my mind and I decided to have a second look the next day.

Maybe there was some fore sign to tell me I should have not bought the bag that fateful 10 Aug 2007. My fren whom I was visiting in Paris got upset cos I miss meeting him for lunch at Etienne Marcel. I felt so bad cos I wonder off to Avenue Montaigne for a second look at this Jil Sander bag. I already lost a lot of shopping zest since I felt I let my fren down. He put down his work to meet me for lunch and I miss out on that. Nevertheless, some strange force got me to Jil Sander store again. I was hoping to put my heart to rest and forget about the bag after trying it the second time. The salesman that served me the day before was not around and I thought, least I can try the bag in peace and not worry about salesman pressures. However, when I was about to convince myself I dun need the bag, cos' it was too big, that salesman appeared out of nowhere and he recognised me. Worst of all, I had ketchup stains on my Marni jacket sleeve and look more 'disoriented' due to my incident with my fren. He begin to tell me this bag was runway item and one of a kind. very rare and blah blah blah...all those sales talk. My clear mind got cluttered and I foolishly succumb to his temptations and bought the bag. :-(

And because of that, I blew my shopping budget and cannot buy any more items from Paris. My woes do not end there. It started when I had to get this bag back to Singapore. As patent leather is very prone to creasing, I had to be extra careful about transporting the bag. I finally thought the best way was to hand carry the bag. In my cramped economy class seat, I had to slot this bag inbetween my legs for 14 hours. However, no matter how careful I am, I still managed to reach Singapore with my bag in not so perfect shape. I got creases onto the patent leather even before I started using it. It was frustrating. That was one flight I would vow never to experience again. Thai airways was lenient enough to let me have the bag with me by my seat, but other airlines would probably ask me to leave it on the overhead compartment, which will be detrimental to the bag.

So after using the bag once, I found the bag too cumbersome, too high maintenance and the condition and feeling of using it, is just not pristine anymore after what i have been thru. Now this bag sits as a white elephant in my room keeping my Marc by Marc Jacobs bag safe(bag in bag is the most space saving way of storing bags).

The final blow to my disappointment in this bag is when I found out Club 21 Men's stock the silver version (as well as the timeless black leather version) and I could have gotten that at a cheaper price without the hassles and troubles.

I vow never to buy big bags while travelling, especially those in patent metallic leather.

Retail price: Euro $1450. Where to buy: Jil Sander Boutique at Avenue Montaigne, Paris

My MANy Bags News #04

Gucci - The Most Coveted Designer Brand In The World

Check out this article. Got this from the website of International Herald Tribune. (Click on the link to find the source article. But I have extracted the report and post it here:-)

Survey shows Gucci tops global brand competition
One in five consumers said that they would buy Gucci products if money weren't an issue

Bloomberg News, Published: February 27, 2008

The Gucci fashion label is the most coveted designer brand in the world, according to a survey by market research firm The Nielsen Company. One in five consumers said that they would buy Gucci products if money weren't an issue, according to a survey of 25,000 online consumers in more than 48 countries that was conducted by The Nielsen Company and obtained by Bloomberg News. In a similar survey published two years ago, Gucci shared the No. 1 spot with the Italian fashion label Giorgio Armani, which has since slipped to the No. 4 spot in the current global survey, Nielsen said.

"In the past two years, Gucci has managed to maintain and even increase its brand equity in a very competitive and fickle industry," said Patrick Dodd, Nielsen's president of Europe in a statement. "They have achieved this by consistently embedding their core brand values in all their branded products, which range from perfume and sunglasses to accessories, jewelry, handbags and ready-to-wear."

Gucci, which is owned by the French retail company PPR, was turned around in the mid-1990s by former executives Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole, who made its bamboo-handled bags, horse-bit motifs and double-G logos trendy and profitable. The brand's current chief executive, Mark Lee, is working with its creative director, Frida Giannini, to revive other iconic symbols including a family crest and a script logo on handbags and other accessories.

Some of the strongest responses came from India and the United Arab Emirates, where 41 percent and 37 percent of consumers, respectively, said they would choose Gucci rather than 24 other labels and designers from their own country.

Consumers in North America were the least interested in luxury brands, with 35 percent saying they would not buy any luxury brands even if money were no object.

Chanel and Calvin Klein tied for second place, while Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Versace all ranked fourth alongside Giorgio Armani.

The Nielsen survey was conducted in November and polled purchasing behavior and future aspirations of online consumers in Europe, Asia-Pacific, the United Arab Emirates, North and Latin America. Consumers were asked which designer labels they already owned and which they would buy if money were no object.

The survey has a margin of error of 3 percentage points, Nielsen said. It was conducted among a sample of Internet users in each country that are representative of the online population.

The Material Boy #50

Z Zegna Spring Summer 2008 Strap Sandals

50th posts on 'The Material Boy'! That means 50 things that I am lusting over since I wrote this blog. So in celebration, I am introducing a new brand, sort 'under the radar' brand, Z Zegna! The younger sibling of the sartorial big brother - Ermenegildo Zegna, Z Zegna taps on the more youthful and playful side of the Zegna man.

I don't feel the spring summer 2008 collection from Z Zegna is very impressive. But I love the white or black strap sandals featured on the runways! I think the gorgeous male model Mat Gordon (also face of Gucci spring 2008 campaign) sold it to me. He is a tall guy, lanky in build and he pulled it off really well. Perhaps it is the way the sandals is designed, the leather strap wraps around the ankles and above, thereby creating a high cut look which absolutely compliments a tall guy. Furthurmore, gladiator style(there I go again) sandals are all the rage this season, you got to love and own it! There is also another variant of the sandals which comes with metal hardware and maybe velcro fastening. That is so similar to CK Calvin Klein's design. Great minds think alike? Wonder who copied who. Anyways, another option for 'high cut' gladiator style sandals that rock this spring summer season!

(On a side note, check out those super flared shots! Reminds me of Balenciaga.)

Will check out the local Zegna stores this weekend to see if these sandals are available.:-)

Gender Bender #12

Azzedine Alaia Gladiator 6-band Sandals

Maybe this is stretching it even for the boldest men who experiments with fashion. But I am just impressed by the design of this pair of flat sandals from Azzedine Alaia. Definitely a very exclusive label (the designer is Tunisian-born), but he makes incredible women shoes and clothes.

I wonder if a men's feet can fit in the largest size of these sandals. A few reasons why I thought a guy might have a chance to pull this off, is the very basic black and brown colour combination, non-ornate detailing(they used only plain metal buckles) and a round-toe shaped sole. I think if a men wants to wear these, he has to try them in order to determine if the shape fits a guy's feet properly. My Pierre Hardy open toe boots have a very narrow and long shaped sole(sort of resembling a female feet) and it is designed for guys. So there is a chance this Azzedine Alaia design could allow a male feet to slip into them. I like these gladiator style sandals, feels really laidback and cool! So if they fit properly, I will not mind buying and wearing it. But for now, I will not take a risk of this 'magnitude' since the sandals costs a hefty UK £570.00!

Nonetheless, still nice to share a good design here with more people. I often question why can't men's shoes inject a bit more creativity in them.

Retail price: UK 570 pounds. Where to buy:

The Material Boy #49

Balenciaga B Boston Bag

Here is one 'cute' grained leather boston bag from Balenciaga. Maybe 'cute' is not a right term to describe this very sporty looking bag. I described it as 'cute' because the size is pretty 'petite' for a boston bag. I would have expect the bag to be larger as men with small bags looked weird, especially a boston type bag.

However, I love the vintage inspired design with the stripe detailing. A 'B' insignia is also stamped on the corner of the bag. Made of soft calf skin, with a concealed ID tag slot, it should be suffice for carrying a pair of gym shoes and attire. Would make a handy day to day bag.

Club 21 men stocks the bag now in black while has the bag in Navy (US $1452.63). It is lovely but too small for a guy my height. Lastly, I also feel the beige version is the better looking colour.

Retail price: SGD $1999. Where to buy: Club 21 Mens at Four Seasons Hotel

The Material Boy #48

CK Calvin Klein Menswear Spring Summer 2008

A break from my Gucci craze and finally found the pics of the new CK Calvin Klein campaign. I was originally planning to buy the warm grey nylon jacket with pull tabs on the waist area, but apparently, the sizing is too big for me. I need some serious alteration to be able to fit perfectly into that TDF jacket:-( so sad. But for guys who have a bigger build, I strongly recommend that. And I also wanted the strap sandals from this season, just too expensive to buy at full price now.

I love the campaign pictures this season. Very clean and uncluttered photography, with just spots of red lighting to create a visual interest. I find it very beautifully done, classy and sophisticated, depicting the essence of the clothes.

Looking forward for more news of the fashion show during Singapore Fashion Festival. The creative director Kevin Carrigan will be in town for the event.

The Material Boy #47

Gucci Menswear Spring Summer 2008

Just got back from the Gucci Fashion Show. A combined Spring Summer 2008 presentation for both menswear and womenswear. It was a glamourous event, held in the National Museum, with quite a good turn out from all the fashionistas and fashionistos all over Singapore. It was packed:-) and the canapes and champagne was good:-P

Although the models were not as good as last year's show, the menswear was a stunning collection which left a very good impression on me. Why do I say the models were not as good this time round...a few reasons. Firstly, some girls looked scared and uncomfortable while walking, could be they are worried of tripping. One almost did. I see her ankles twisting. The heels were so thin, high and hence not stable. Second, some of the guy models looked too buffed to pull off the look, while another look just like your everyday teenager, not glamourous enough. Thirdly, the show was a bit non-cohesive. Almost nearing the end, evening gowns were mixed with cocktail dresses which feels messy in the sequence. However, having said that, the show was still something to look out for and I will not miss it for the world:-) I enjoyed it just as much. Looking forward to next season!

A few looks for the mens left a good impression on me, especially the black polo with studs lining the collar and a huge 'G' on the chest area. It glistens under the spotlights and was both rock star chic and evening glamour. Have to check it out over the weekend. Think that piece was brought into the Singapore stores. Another was the very beautiful black and brown biker jacket. When I saw it on the runway photos, it was not impressive. But seen it in real, you can see the knitted back design. Gorgeous and ingenious! There were also a studded grey tee and a nice stripe polo that stood out from the collection. I also adore a studded black belt with sliver trim. The more I look at it, the more I want to buy it.

So this weekend will be a trip to Gucci to find out what has arrived in store from the runway looks.

The Material Boy #46

Gucci Large Leather Duffles

In view of the upcoming Gucci Fashion Show that I will be attending on 25 March at the National Museum, I am becoming very interested in Gucci Spring Summer season. I am beginning to pay attention to the range of man bags that is part of the spring summer collection.

This time, my eyes are set on the large leather duffles with multi pockets and a shoulder strap, that could take you from weekend trips to the gym or to your casual friday outfits. I especially love the white leather version which just exudes sophistication. Understated and luxurious in very light weight leather, this will be a very functional duffle that will last you for years.

Comes also in black colour. All endorsed with a tiny metal Gucci script logo so you will not labeled a showoff when you carry the bag. For those who wants to flash and flaunt, there is the black or silver version that comes with circle and star fabric patches with metal studs and a larger Gucci embroided script logo, very much a staple design element from the runway collection (The black duffle is available now in Gucci Boutique in Paragon). Very rock and roll:-P

Retail price:
1) White or Black Leather Duffle - Euro $1495

2) Black or Silver Duffle with fabric patches and metal studs - Euro $1595

Where to buy: Gucci Boutique at Paragon or

Vida Guerra

Vida Guerra is a Cub@n-born American model, actress, and singer. Discovered in the magazine FHM, this former loans officer blew readers away with a petite figure and one helluva behind. You’ll like it when she arrives, but you’ll love it when she walks away. Early last year she cracked the top 10 among the Internet’s most searched for female celebrities joining the likes Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton, Carmen Electra and Oprah Winfrey.

My Bag Collection #23 (FOR SALE)

Mulberry Piccadilly Bag (FOR SALE: Email me to enquire)

A classic design from the english brand Mulberry. The Piccadilly bag is a big brother of the women's Bayswater bag. In a huge size, suitable for a weekend getaway or gym, the Piccadilly bag is positioned as a men's bag more than the women's range. I love the simple, fuss free design. A 'Mulberry' engraved brass turn-lock closure is the only hardware you see on the exterior of the bag.

Over the years, Piccadilly bag has undergone a few makeovers in terms of colours and textures. The recent colour scheme includes chocolate, oak and the timeless black. Now, there is even croc embossed leather to choose from. However, what I own is in an apple green colour. Bought during sale time a few years back in Club 21 Mens before Mulberry even got its own boutique at Hilton hotel. Now, you will not be able to find this colour on the shelves anymore.

The apple green is a bright cheery colour and the vegetable dying technique will aged the bag and change the colour over time. Now my bag has matured into a yellowish apple green which gives it even more character. I was skeptical at first when I wanted to buy this green coloured bag but after pondering a bit further, you don't get man bags in such a hue often, so I grab the chance to own it.

Retail price: SGD $2400. Where to buy: Club 21 Mens at Four Seasons Hotel

My Shoe Collection #19

Paul Smith Baby Blue Canvas 'Brogue' Sneakers

Paul Smith always surprises me with quirky takes on classic designs. There is always a nice surprise element that gets you fascinated on the most normal of items. This pair of sneakers is a 'grunge' take on your classic leather brogues (a very English style). Fashioned in a cheery baby blue canvas (think small boy:-P) but with all the edges of the brogue detailing frayed. In a way, it's innocence meets grunge. White and blue eyelets lined the holes for the shoe laces which adds good contrast to the light blue canvas. The soles have contrasting blue stripes(in different shades of blue) which again makes the shoe 'cute' and quirky. Perfect for a sunny day out, casually shopping, lounging and meeting with friends. Effortless style with a bit of grunge:-P

Retail price: SGD $299. Where to buy: Paul Smith Boutique at Hilton Hotel