FLOTPRC Fashion: Li Pengyuan, The Glam Ma’am of China

Happy Good Friday, Stiletto-istas!

While everyone is away on holiday (it seems) this Easter weekend, we’re bound to our desk working like bananas so, for a lunchtime break, I thought I’d share with you one of my latest mini-obsessions: fashion policing the new FLOTPRC (First Lady of the People’s Republic of China), the glamorous Li Pengyuan, wife of China’s newly-appointed president, Xi Jinping.

After all, one of our more popular posts in the recent past was our FLOTUS fashion face-off between Michelle Obama and Ann Romney in the heat of last year’s US presidential elections (click here to view that post).

As China is close to our hearts (literally, we do live here after all) and as the world’s media – from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, Vogue China to the fashion pundits at our favourite China-watching blog, the Shanghaiist – have all been weighing in on Madame Li’s outfits this week as she accompanies her husband on a whirlwind official tour of Russia and Africa – we thought, heck Becks, we might as well join in the fun!

The new First Lady's choice of a tailored dark coat accessorized by a turquoise scarf and tailored leather black handbag (looks like a Tod's but apparently is not - China media saying that it is not a designer brand) sparked copycats on Chinese online shopping portal Taobao
The new First Lady’s choice of a tailored dark coat accessorized by a turquoise scarf and tailored leather black handbag (looks like a Tod’s but apparently is not – China media saying that it is not a designer brand), upon arrival in Moscow, reportedly sparked copycats on Chinese online shopping portal Taobao.
The new First Lady has a preference for smart tailored suits when travelling - making her look very polished and put together. Here she matches a creamy white embroidered suit with a white tailored bag and pretty crocodile skin peep toes. A refreshing touch? She recycles wearing that lovely turquioise scarf.
China’s First Lady Madame Li has a preference for smart tailored suits when travelling – making her look very polished and put together. Here she matches a creamy white embroidered suit with a white tailored bag and pretty crocodile skin peep toes. A refreshing touch? She recycles wearing that lovely turquioise scarf.
During an official event, while exchanging toasts and charming South African president Jacob Zuma, the First Lady donned a gorgeous silk Chinese embroidered jacket with floral motif in light shades of grey and lavender.
During an official event, while exchanging toasts and charming South African president Jacob Zuma, the First Lady Madame Li donned a gorgeous silk Chinese embroidered jacket with floral motif in light shades of grey and lavender.
Another official arrival, another great, crisply tailored suit, this time with a flattering Mandarin high collar, with grey-green and light blue pattern.
Another official arrival, another great, crisply tailored suit, this time with a flattering Mandarin high collar, with grey-green and light blue pattern.
We love how the First Lady is proudly representing Chinese fashion! Here she wears a traditional Chinese jacket with high collar and Chinese buttons, fashionably draped with an embroidered scarf.
We love how the First Lady is proudly representing Chinese fashion! Here she wears a traditional silk embroidered Chinese jacket with high collar and Chinese buttons, fashionably draped with an embroidered scarf.

To those of you who might be somewhat clued out as to what’s hot and happening here in the good ol’ PRC, here’s a little backgrounder on the new First Lady and her grace, charm and sensible yet stylish wardrobe that’s been wowing diplomatic and fashion circles:

Before her debut on the world stage this past week, Madame Li gained fame in China on her own, as a much-beloved Chinese folk singer and opera star. Every year she was a fixture in the country’s annual Chinese New Year star-studded television extravaganza (the same one which saw Celine Dion singing – in Mandarin – most recently).  The First Lady has performed in Lincoln Center in New York and at the Vienna State Opera House in the past but since her husband became China’s vice president in 2007, Madame Li began scaling back her public singing appearances. In 2011, the World Health Organization appointed her as a goodwill ambassador for AIDS and tuberculosis. Madame Li and the President have one daughter, currently a student at Harvard.

As for the low-key designer – Ma Ke – who is behind Madame Li’s tastefully understated wardrobe – the Shanghaiist offers this interesting observation (post below from Shanghaiist):

– quote –

In a society that typically has more money than class, it’s surprising that such a simple and understated designer as Ma Ke should be on everyone’s lips. If the name sounds unfamiliar rest assured she’s soon to be a household name. Ma is helping turn Peng Liyuan, China’s First Lady into China’s Jackie Oh.

Interestingly anti-consumerist and slightly ironic, she is the designer behind the brands Exception de Mixmind and Wuyong. Naming her haute couture brand Wuyong, which literally means “useless”, Ma says she wants to redefine modern luxury, drawing it away from “Western Materialism”, and towards more spiritual factors, as she believes that elements such as time, water and the human spirit are timeless [Shanghaiist Ed.: *eyeroll*].

What does that actually mean? Both brands only use sustainable production, including traditional dying, weaving and embroidery techniques invented by the Dong People of southern China. The fabrics used by Wuyong are actually woven with Chinese loom technology dating back to 19th century. Furthermore, rather than going the route of ultra-elite and ostentatious, as many domestic haute couture designers have, Wuyong’s fashion shows are outside, open to the public and use a collection of modern dancers and tai-chi performers instead of models.

This ecologically and socially sustainable approach seems to have worked, as Exception just celebrated it’s 16th birthday, and Wuyong was the second ever Chinese collection to show at Paris Fashion Week. Furthermore, Exception has generated sales over one billion yuan in 60 stores in China. While many have attributed the First Lady’s coat and bag to Exception de Mixmind, industry insiders have pointed out that they actually belong to Wuyong. The brand has reportedly made over 100 outfits exclusively for Peng in the past 3 months. She will continue wearing them throughout her trip to Russia, Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of Congo.

– end quote –

The First Lady is supporting sustainable fashion in China???
Very fashion forward of her, if I may say so, and if then… KUDOS to the FLOTPRC!

RAW! Chic Vegan Cuisine @The Farm at San Benito

Happy spring fling, sweets!
It’s been a month since our Chinese New Year post and in that time, The Bamboo Stiletto was whisked away by Herr Hubby for a long, lovely, delicious 3 weeks of holiday. Where did we sashay off to on our vacay, duckies???

Well, to sum it all up or else we’ll be here all day: first stop was Bali, Indonesia. To meet up with The Bamboo Stiletto’s dearest gal pals from high school, all scattered now to the four corners of the earth (namely, Los Angeles, Paris, Dubai, Sydney, as well as Cebu, Boracay…and little ol’ moi, representing Chinoise) and converging on the Island of the Gods, solo or with hubby/boyfriend/partner/what evs in tow.

Anyway, more about Bali in another post, dah-lings, and don’t worry, you’ll be getting an eyeful soon…

Second stop of our little vacay was an incredible, life-altering week at The Farm at San Benito, a wholistic wellness resort in Batangas, about a 90-minute drive from the Philippine capital of Manila. Located in the midst of 50 hectares of lush trees, flowers, a lake, a pond, a river, more coconut trees and bamboo that you can shake a stick at and populated by a charming posse of extremely communicative peacocks, ducks, chickens and a prancing billy goat or two, The Farm comes replete with luxury suites and villas, an amazing spa and an awardwinning organic vegan restaurant.

Herr Hubby and I signed up for a one-week detox cleanse, where we had nothing but fresh juices all day and a hot vegetable soup at night. Take my word for it, boy oh boy, by the time evening would roll around, those nightly hot soups tasted like the most god dang delicious gourmet concoctions on the planet! In addition, we were subjected to colon cleansing sessions, spa treatments to help detoxify and availed ourselves of The Farm’s diverse array of daily activities, such as yoga, power walks, boxing, swimming, etc.

My dear Stiletto-istas, I don’t know about you but if I’m going to suffer through my detox/cleanse, I might as well suffer in luxury…at The Farm. Ha! That was very goopster Gwyneth Paltrow of me. Hahahaaa!!!! But seriously, book the Narra Pool Villa, trust me.

Anyhooz, I thought I’d share our super-delicious “last meal” at The Farm before detox began, which is basically the vegan meal which constituted our last full meal before going on the juice and soup diet. Any preconceived notions I had of vegan food being bland and boring disappeared when I tasted the food at The Farm, where they specialize in mostly raw cuisine (85% raw, only 15% cooked). Check these out and tell me, aren’t these just HELLA SCRUMPTIOUS???

Nori maki rolls with green asparagus & radish
Nori maki rolls with green asparagus & radish
Cucumber ume salad, followed by wakame & grilled scallion soup
Cucumber ume salad, followed by wakame & grilled scallion soup
Alive! udon noodles in shitaake miso broth & oyster mushrooms
Alive! udon noodles in shitaake miso broth & oyster mushrooms
Chocolate (made of organic cocoa) dim sum with fresh fruits
Chocolate (made of organic cocoa) dim sum with fresh fruits

I had headaches in the afternoon of my first day into the juice diet and nausea on the evening of my second day, but after breathing exercises I learned from our yoga teacher at The Farm which, astoundingly, truly worked in relieving my headache, coupled with a good night’s sleep, by the third day, I bounced back with a noticeable uptick in energy. And my energy levels from there just took off. By the end of the week, both Herr Hubby and I had lost weight, trimmed inches off our waists and hips, and felt AH-MAY-ZING!!!  Of course, we are now furiously plotting when and how we can go back…

Meantime, here we are back to reality and the REAL HARD PART: sustaining everything that we’d learned and experienced at The Farm at San Benito. We actually bought The Farm’s recipe book, appropriately called RAW! so we can try out some stuff ourselves at Casa Stiletto. Hey, we’re not turning vegan, ok, but we are making serious attempts at eating healthy. So, get the juicer and blender out of the cupboard!

RAW! The Uncook Book from The Farm at San Benito, with gazillions of yummy vegan recipes!
RAW! The Uncook Book from The Farm at San Benito, with gazillions of yummy vegan recipes!

For a hotelier and a writer/blogger couple such as Herr Hubby and myself, eating healthy can be a bit of a stretch, but we’re gonna have fun trying, duckies.

:-)Ha! Ain’t life a HOOT?

What are your thoughts on raw cuisine, Stiletto-istas? How about vegan cuisine, does it float your boat? Would you like to share some delicious recipes here?…oh, please do SHARE!!!

FLOTUS (Current & Aspiring) Fashion Face-Off: Obama vs. Romney

Apologies, Stiletto sweethearts! This was supposed to be a Monday Funday post, but as luck would have it, our VPN (virtual private network) conked out yesterday.

So, for the past 24 hours here in China, while VPN-less, we couldn’t access Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, even Google (couldn’t get into Gmail as well), even Yahoo was drifting in and out…and yes, no WordPress either, where this blog, The Bamboo Stiletto, resides. The only thing working was Bing (but WHO really uses Bing, anyway?) Highly frustrating but TIC (This Is China). Sigh!

We had a sneaking suspicion that all this clampdown has something to do with the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party but what’s annoying is that we have NOTHING, NADA, to do with politics, so the guardians of The Great Firewall should just leave us the heck alone!

Ok, rant over…we do think it IS interesting though that during the same period that China is experiencing a once-in-a-decade leadership transition…new Chinese President (and First Lady!) onboard very soon…the USA is also undergoing a presidential election. Interesting, doncha think, duckies????

Anyhooz, even though we’re obviously not voting, we couldn’t escape the media onslaught of the US presidential elections (we do have 2 CNN channels at home, the Asia Pacific one with all the familiar media faces in Hong Kong, as well as the US one, complete with American commercials)…so we just gave up, thinking, why escape?

Instead, we decided to make the race more interesting (for all of us) by fashion policing both the candidates’ wives!

Obama vs. Romney: the epic FLOTUS (current & aspiring) fashion face-off. At the first presidential debate, Mrs. O in cobalt blue dress & jacket by Preen, Mrs. R in custom cream skirt suit by Alfred Fiandaca, a fave of Nancy Reagan & other similar wealthy women who shop at Bergdorf, Henri Bendel & Saks.

So, Stiletto-istas.. I’m proudly presenting the mother of all epic fashion face-offs, current FLOTUS Michelle Obama vs. aspiring FLOTUS Ann Romney (images courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter):

1.) In this corner, the incumbent FLOTUS: Michelle Obama, 48 years old
(dang! girlfriend looks GOOD for her age! Wish our arms were that toned!)

Mrs.O wore Narciso Rodriguez to welcome US Olympic & Paralympic athletes to the White House on September 2012. She previously wore Rodriguez on the night of her husband’s presidential victory, November 4, 2008. (God, I remember staying awake with Herr Hubby that historic night!). That winning Rodriguez dress had the most number of knock-offs at the Shanghai fabric market for MONTHS afterwards!
During a university visit, the First Lady wore this multi-print dress by British-African designer Duro Olowu – called an “unknown” designer by American fashion critics – but who is actually quite famous in the UK. In Asia, his dresses are carried by our fave store, none other than Lane Crawford, of course (we picked one of his multi-print goddess dresses at a bargain warehouse sale!)
For the DNC, Mrs. O wore this boatneck purple print dress by rising designer Laura Smalls. A lucite dogwood pin by fave celeb accessories designer Alexis Bittar accents her neckline.
During the DNC, Mrs. O. wowed political circles with her moving speech & set the fashion twitterverse abuzz with this gorgeous silk pink and grey-blue number from one of her go-to fave designers, Tracy Reese. Everyone was totally tweeting about her matching grey-blue manicure!

2.) And in this corner, the challenger, aspiring FLOTUS: Ann Romney, 63 years old
(holy cow! does she bathe in milk? she looks AH-MAY-ZING for a lady in her ’60s…in her ’60s!!! Repeating in case you didn’t get that)

Here’s a closer look at Mrs. R’s custom-fitted cream suit by Alfred Fiandaca, a designer whom she favours, shopping off the rack at his stores in Boston & Palm Beach.
Such an unexpected look for a presidential candidate’ s wife and at the RNC, no less, we love it! Mrs R went sophisticated casual with long linen jacket, khakis & high heels and accessorized with an oversize turquoise necklace.
For the RNC’s 2nd day, Mrs. R decided it was time to stop messing around & brought out the big guns – a battle-red shirtdress belted at the waist with a gold buckle, by Oscar de la Renta (another Nancy Reagan fave & a designer notably NEVER worn by Mrs. Obama).
Also at the RNC, Mrs. R again favoured Oscar de la Renta, looking stunning in this bright turquoise blue number with little matching bolero jacket.


At the final presidential debate, both women looked simply fabulous…Mrs. O in a custom grey Thom Browne cap-sleeved dress with lace overlay (which she also wore at the DNC), accessorizing with a lovely silver bow brooch & black bow belt, Mrs. R in her go-to fave designer, Oscar de la Renta’s emerald-green, cap-sleeved with tropical leaf print skirt, enhanced with jade-green and gold accessories.

So, Stiletto-istas, WHO has YOUR VOTE for best-dressed on the campaign trail? EXERCISE your RIGHT TO VOTE in the COMMENTS below!

Canton Fair 101: The Olympics of Bargain Shopping

The Canton Fair, the world’s biggest trade fair, which happens in Guangzhou every year for 3 weeks from mid-October until early November, finally ends today. For the past 3 weeks, we’ve tried to avoid going out as much as possible since everything, restaurants, bars, the train stations/airports, shopping malls, hotels, and indeed, traffic in the city, has been frenzied. It was ri-DON-culous trying to get a cab to go anywhere!

It was The Bamboo Stiletto’s first Canton Fair, so we were determined to experience it all for the first time and document accordingly. The Canton Fair is the mother of all bargain shopping experiences so for the benefit of those die-hard shoppingeras/shoppingeros out there, I’m sharing my experience here, in the spirit of, let’s call it, “best practices.”

How exactly do you navigate the Canton Fair? You are not an import-export wholesaler, trader or buyer. But you live in Guangzhou and rumor has it among your expat friends that shopping bargains can be had when the world’s biggest trade fair is happening at your doorstep.

The good news? The rumors are true. The bad news? The Canton Fair happens in three phases roughly spanning three weeks and individual shopping bargains can only happen on the last day of each of those phases, when traders are getting ready to pack up their goods and may be looking to offload their inventory of samples to save on shipping costs.

So, one of the first things you need to do is identify which products are being traded on which phase. For instance, home decor/furniture, gifts & toys may be traded during Phase 2 and fashion/clothing & shoes/bags may take place during Phase 3. Ask around, read the newspaper or check on websites like City Weekend Guangzhou (plug, plug:-). You absolutely have got to get the dates right for the items you like.

Once you’ve got that down, just like any elite athlete, you then have to prep big-time because the Canton Fair is like the Olympics of bargain shopping!

The next thing you need to do is obtain a Canton Fair overseas buyer’s pass. Never mind that you are a Guangzhou resident and that the only things you’ve bought lately were milk and eggs from the Corner’s Deli. Prepare to bring your passport, an ID photo, a business card and RMB 100 (about USD 16). You can apply for your pass at any of the overseas buyers’ registration counters at most five-star hotels in town.

Can’t find any of these counters? Head over to the Canton Fair venue itself, at the Pazhou Exhibition Center, and follow the clearly marked signs indicating the spacious and airy hall for “Overseas Buyers Registration.” Friendly, smiling trade fair staff, all speaking perfect English, will be on hand to efficiently assist you with forms and payment, provide you with a Canton Fair guide map and within minutes…voila! You are now an overseas buyer. The cool thing is, the pass is good for a lifetime, so if you want to return for more bargain shopping expeditions in future Canton Fairs, better keep your pass safe.

Officially registered to spend some shopping money!

Now that you have your pass and can sling it around your neck – like all the real buyers do at the Fair – you then plan your transportation strategy. Going there is a no-brainer. You can take the Guangzhou metro, cab it or see if you can swing a ride on any of the free Canton Fair shuttle buses proliferating at any of the major five-star hotels in the city. No, going there is not a problem at all…it is your exit transportation strategy that you should be carefully planning. If you don’t have your own, preferably very spacious, vehicle, then our recommendation is that you splurge a little bit and hire a mini-van with a driver.  Make sure you’ve got the driver’s mobile handy and remind him to stay alert, for when he needs to pick you up (with your vanload of purchases) at any of the exits afterwards.

Lastly, before you actually enter the hallowed halls of the Pazhou Exhibition Center, do a mental checklist of your clothing and equipment. You must have your Canton Fair buyer’s pass and guide map in hand. Wear the most comfortable walking shoes you own. Don’t tote one of your heavy designer handbags; this is not the day for showing off your latest “It bag” purchase to your girlfriends. Carry cash – lots of it, if you can. Don’t forget your mobile – essential for communicating with lost friends and the aforementioned exit strategy driver. And bring a large suitcase or large shopping trolley – with wheels. 

Gurlfriendz, at the Canton Fair, we’re gonna need bigger trolleys than these!

You are now ready to go shopping!

Once inside the Fair, give yourself a couple of minutes to get your bearings and simply gawk. The sheer vastness of the trade halls, the mass and diversity of people from all over the world are overwhelming to the senses. Yet everything is well-organized, with clearly marked signs for directions. Cafes and restaurants offer refreshments and meals, courier companies vie for packing and shipping services and bathrooms everywhere are well-stocked and clean. To get from one trade hall to another, there are covered walkways, with carpeted “sidewalks” for those on foot and “lanes” for those riding in comfort on little electric trams that shuttle back and forth in between trade halls. Try not to get run over by an over-eager shuttle and stay safely on the “sidewalk” instead.

Study the map, figure out which trade hall you want to hit, then attack.

In the beginning, you will probably browse slowly among the stalls because you will be so overwhelmed. The quality of most products at the Canton Fair is simply superb, truly export-worthy and world-class and the sheer number of gorgeous items all in one vast place is visually staggering.

Some traders cannot be bothered to sell to individual shoppers and some of these traders already have makeshift signs posted outside their stalls, saying: “No sale.” This means that unless you’re willing to buy in volume quantities, don’t even bother them. Some traders who are willing to sell, have signs saying so, “Sale” or “Stock sale”. However, not everyone willing to sell posts signs, so, if you do see anything you fancy really badly, it is still best to ask. Simply walk into the shop, quickly point at the stuff you want and say outright:“Mai, bu mai?”  (buy, cannot buy?) After a while, you will be amazed at how swiftly you can do this at so many shops and how much ground you’re able to cover in minutes.

Keep a watchful eye open for stalls whose staff are already busy clearing the stall and packing their items into wooden crates as they will usually be more amenable to giving items away at hefty discounts, or if you’re especially lucky, for free. This usually happens in early afternoon, right after lunchtime.

By early afternoon, after two or three hours at the Fair, you might find that even your large suitcase or shopping trolley will not be adequate for your purchases and you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to transport everything outside the trade hall to the exit gate. Make sure first, at the last stall where you’ve made big-ticket purchases (like, a piece of furniture) that you are issued a gate pass so that you can exit the trade hall with all of your purchases without being questioned by security.

Just as the Fair slowly winds down, you will notice an army of ayis (literally, aunties, in China, to mean, older ladies or maids) pulling flat wooden trolleys with rope, wandering the halls. Hail one of these ayis and negotiate in your best Chinese for her and her friend to load up their trolley with your items and take you to the nearest exit gate, in exchange for a small fee.

Once at the gate, it’s a simple matter of calling your driver to pick you up and load up all your new goodies in the car.

Exhausted but triumphant, The Bamboo Stiletto & fellow Stiletto-istas looking like a bunch of bedraggled garbage ladies, surrounded by our purchases as we wait for our driver at the Fair’s exit gate.

And, duckies, you must be wondering what on earth got our stilettos into a twist at the Fair…here’s a peek at what we picked up (after 2 hours of shopping – we were too dizzy to continue any further):

Blue Tray (free)

Scored the darling blue tray for free from a hastily departing trader…now it’s part of a charming vignette in the guestroom.

Red tray (free)

From the same trader, also scored this beautiful red tray for free…now it makes a striking bar tray in a corner of the dining room.

Red Eames Chair (RMB 120, approx. USD 20)

This lovely red Eames chair, now sitting in a corner of the living room, was selling for only RMB 120 (roughly USD 20), can you believe it???? Trader, who specialized in modern mid-century furniture (my absolute LOVEZ!), was in a hurry to get out of town & just wanted to get dump his samples. Was dying to get my hands on an Eames rocking chair but wasn’t “chop chop” (hurry, hurry) enough…someone snatched it up from right under my  nose!

Metallic Chinoiserie Stool
Inspiration Scenario: Lobby, W Hotel Singapore

Since I spotted these metallic chinoiserie stools in design magazines, browsed vintage versions on Etsy.com & spotted them IRL (in real life) at the W hotel, Singapore (lobby pictured here), I’ve been harbouring an all-consuming lust.

Metallic Chinoiserie Stool (RMB 400, approx. USD 66) & Lime-Green Tray (free)
Actual Scenario: Casa Stiletto 

I was beside myself with excitement at the Fair when I spotted the silver chinoiserie stool (foreground) & the trader agreed to sell it to me for RMB 400 (about USD 66). He had a gold one too, but I knew the silver would be perfect in our living room at Casa Stiletto, as a side table ideally serving as a perch for coffee or a drink, the occasional book or magazine, next to our Eames lounger & ottoman. Oh, and btw, that lime-green tray you see on the purple ottoman? That’s a freebie too 🙂

Congratulations to moi…we’ve successfully navigated our first Canton Fair!!!   Now, life in Guangzhou can, hopefully, get back to normal.

Posh Nosh: Robata Grill and Bar, Sofitel Guangzhou

Recently, we landed a little writing/editing gig for City Weekend Guangzhou – for you non-China based folks, City Weekend is a popular English-language expat rag, with print and online editions in Beijing and Shanghai. Here in Guangzhou, we now have  a newly revamped online edition but no print edition (not yet).

Whether you’re an old China hand or a greenie fresh off the plane, their magazines and website are indispensable, telling you all the events & doo-da in your city, crammed full of directory listings on everything from hospitals to hotels (with telephone numbers and helpful bi-lingual addresses), classifieds to help you in your search for the perfect apartment or ayi.

What our new gig basically entails is we get a chance to posh nosh in restaurants around town, hang out in hotels, swan around in spas and be besties with all the PR chicks and guys. Then, we head back to our  home office in Casa Stiletto and write about all the divalicious antics we’ve been up to! Tough life but hey, someone’s gotta do it!

Our first “assignment” was to have lunch at Robata Grill and Bar, the sleek-chic, modern Japanese resto at the Sofitel Hotel Guangzhou. We were on it like jam on bread or, I should say, like sushi on rice, haha!

We opted for Robata’s “Sake Experience” – a sake-pairing set menu, but minus the sake. Regretfully. We were sorely tempted but it was lunchtime on a schoolday after all. We would have passed out, snoring, for the entire afternoon! Here’s a quick look at our posh nosh.

Assorted Sushi

Faced with this giNORmous platter of sushi, it was easy to forget that we still had more courses to come, we just wanted to gorge ourselves!

Assorted Sashimi 

Seafood so fresh, just kind of melts in your mouth…Robata jets ’em in from the best in the world: Japan, Maldives, Finland, Australia…

Assorted Robatayaki

This grilled shrimp, Mirin-marinated pork belly & sweet potato, all cooked robatayaki-style, was a highlight for us. Flavours a-mingling! The pork? To die for!

Parilla-Grilled Australian Angus Beef with Duck Fat Fries

This baby satisfied our inner carnivore big time! Luscious Australian Angus beef ternderloin, grilled on the Argentinian parilla, & paired with Duck Fat Fries. Yum!

Tofu Cheesecake with Apple Miso Sorbet

Capping off our meal was Tofu Cheesecake, paired with Apple Miso Sorbet and fresh fruits.

Wasn’t that lunch just oishi-desu??? To read our full dining review on City Weekend Guangzhou’s website, please click here. To find out how to get to Robata Grill and Bar at Sofitel Hotel, Guangzhou, please click here.

Until our next nosh – Stiletto-istas, smile & stay posh! 🙂

2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet Honor Roll

Red Carpet report alert, Stiletto-istas!

Did you watch the 2012 Emmys, from whichever corner of the world you’re sitting in? Network primetime in New York City means afternoon in Los Angeles, California…which means TOO GODDAM early in the morning for us here in Asia. But anyhooz, fuelled by cups of caffeine, The Bamboo Stiletto was up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, for yummy breakfast coverage of 2012 Emmy Awards red carpet fashions.

Here’s our top 5 picks of loveliest dresses on the red carpet – along with their runway equivalents: (all images courtesy of the Press Room -64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards and Red Carpet Fashion Awards)

  • Claire Danes in Lanvin
Let’s start off with the Emmy-winning Best Actress for TV Series – Drama! “Homeland” star Claire Danes looked hella luscious in this elegant, bump-friendly yellow Lanvin. Love how it drapes her figure, so flattering – you’d never guess Ms. Danes is actually pregnant. Herr Hubby and I are seriously addicted to her show & can’t wait for Season 2. Although her character creepily freaks me out (she’s so damn good in it)!
  • Ginnifer Goodwin in Monique Lhuiller
Shout-out to a fellow hometown girl! Designer Monique Lhuiller, who grew up in our ‘hood in Cebu in the Philippines, really outdid herself with this divine dress on “Once Upon a Time” actress Ginnifer Goodwin. Girlfriend looks too exquisite for words. Love the colour & that assymetrical hemline…as Ms. Goodwin walked the carpet, the skirt billowed out beautifully after her. So reminded me of Audrey Hepburn in “Funny Face”…that classic old film supposedly inspired by Richard Avedon, Diana Vreeland and the good old days of Vogue? (maybe before your time, young ducks!)
  • Jessica Pare in Jason Wu
Some of FLOTUS Michelle Obama’s most iconic looks have come courtesy of designer Jason Wu, so I guess somehow in my mind, his dresses always seem to remind me of her. Take this elegant Grecian-inspired one-shoulder white gown on “Mad Men” star Jessica Pare. Old Hollywood glam is so spot-on for Don Draper’s wife and yet, I can totally imagine the very 21st century First Lady looking so right in it as well!
  • Jena Malone in J. Mendel
The colour of this rich burgundy gown by J. Mendel would have looked too old on young actress Jena Malone (who’s currently shooting “The Hunger Games” sequel “Catching Fire”), but the uneven, strappy neckline (and that thigh-high slit, naturally) succeeds in making it fresh, youthfully edgy and age-appropriate.
  • Julie Bowen in Monique Lhuiller
Such an unexpected burst of colour on the red carpet…we luvz it, don’t we, Stiletto-istas? “Modern Family” star Julie Bowen looks like the winner that she is (she went home with the Emmy statuette for Best Supporting Actress, TV Series-Comedy) in this refreshing lime-yellow Monique Lhuiller. Like a tall, cool glass of limoncello!

Special Honourable Mention – Jessica Lange in J. Mendel

Sigh! When we grow up, we want to look like the Queen of Fabulousity, the Mama of Glamourama that is Jessica Lange, Emmy winner for Best Supporting Actress, Mini-Series-Drama. Just look at her. 63 years old? Girlfriend just GLOWS in this fab scarlet J. Mendel gown…And naturally, we are major fanatics of her seriously twisted show, “American Horror Story”. We can’t wait to see what perversely demented character Ms. Lange is going to unleash upon us in season 2. Love her!

That wraps up The Bamboo Stiletto’s fab fashion report for the 2012 Emmy Awards, ducks!

What about you, who did you pick for best-dressed on the red carpet? Did we pick the same hot babes? Or, did you have other choices? Thoughts…objections??? Discuss in the Comments below!

Monday Funday: Christian Louboutin’s Biggest Fan, More Imeldific Than Imelda Marcos…WHO Is She?

And our happy Monday Fundays return, Stiletto-istas – welcome back!
A quick recap of our last edition: if you recall, we had asked you to guess which young, successful country/pop music sweetheart romancing a Kennedy scion this summer had just bought a divine beach house next to his family compound in Hyannisport, Cape Cod, Massachusetts? Several of you guessed it correctly…yup, it’s Taylor Swift! (to read that previous Monday Funday edition, click here)

Aaaaaw! Isn’t young love just sweet & these 2 munchkins simply adorbs? Summer lovin’ on Cape Cod…Taylor Swift puckers up for a kiss with boyfriend Conor Kennedy, son of RFK Jr., and grandson of RFK and JFK.

Moving on to today’s Monday Funday…let’s begin with a little Bamboo Stiletto “origins story”, as they say in film industry lingo.

It was the summer of 1999. I had just moved from Hong Kong to New York City where that fall, I was due to attend graduate classes in business at Fordham University’s Manhattan campus in Lincoln Centre.

I was waiting for the number 1 train heading downtown at the subway station nearest my Upper West Side apartment. Next to me, also waiting for the train, was a lone, slim, well-dressed woman, blonde hair scooped neatly into a ponytail. For the life of me, I can’t remember now what she was wearing but what vividly transfixed me were her shoes. They were, by far, the most beautiful shoes I had ever seen in my life. In a gorgeous teal colour, ideal for summer. Showcasing her perfectly pedicured toes most adorably.

At this stage in my life, my love affair with shoes had already begun in earnest. Remember, I had lived in Hong Kong in the 1990s. Manolo Blahnik already had a popular shop in Hong Kong (back then, hordes of Japanese tourists could be seen queueing outside the shop; these days, the queueing hordes are all from mainland China). Blahnik and Jimmy Choo were already available at Lane Crawford. But this woman’s shoes…I did not recognize.

For a few seconds, I argued with myself. Should I act like a tourist in New York and simply ask a complete stranger, who did her shoes? Or, should I simply suffer in silent admiration? In the end, I couldn’t stand it…inquiring minds had to know! Before the train came roaring in, I mustered my thick-skinned courage, smiled at the unknown lady, paid my compliments regarding her shoes and asked, whose and what were they?

She smiled at the compliment, did not seem surprised (and, in fact, seemed to take it for granted that her beautiful shoes were certainly worthy of a stranger’s admiration) and then, she said: ” They’re by Christian Louboutin.”

It  was the first time I had ever heard of Christian Louboutin. It was also, indeed, a case of lust at first sight.

Alas, it was a case of wanting what I couldn’t have. At least not while I was in grad school and didn’t have a bean in the world. It wasn’t until years later, while in the Beijing rat race, during a Lane Crawford warehouse sale, that I was able to buy my first ever pair of Louboutins.

Since then, I’ve only managed to buy two more pairs – and only when massively discounted by Lane Crawford at its Hong Kong and Beijing stores.  Never bought them at full price; I mean, I AM a self-confessed shoe whore, but just CANNOT justify that kind of money. Here’s a look at The Bamboo Stiletto’s Louboutin stilettos – to date:

My Louboutin stilettos…one of these babies is already 8 years old, my first ever pair! Guess which one? Haha! Easy-peasy. Scuffed from use, you can hardly see the logo anymore.

Of course, by now, Louboutins have become so famous that Jennifer Lopez has sung about them;  they’re mentioned by rappers alongside other bling accoutrements as Cristal champagne and G6 private jets. Even “Sex & the City” character, Carrie Bradshaw, and her well-known Manolo Blahnik fetish, ended up choosing Louboutins for her wedding to Mr. Big. Over the years, my infatuation with Louboutin began to lose its lustre.

I was, however, reminded of my past love affair when the Wall Street Journal magazine recently ran a feature on the designer himself and his amazing shoe archive, housed in one of his homes. Mr. Louboutin has five residences: in the United States (Los Angeles, California), in Egypt and Portugal, an apartment in Paris and a lovely 13th-century chateau in the French countryside region of Vendee. It is here, in a restored oak barn, that Mr. Louboutin keeps an archive of more than 8,000 pairs of shoes, culled from his 20 years in the industry. He has room for 14,000 and is presently looking to hire a curator to manage the archive.

Uh, DING DONG! Monsieur Louboutin, where do I sign up to apply??? Who do we have to kill to get that job? Hahahaaa! Stiletto-istas, here’s a glimpse of Mr. Louboutin’s French country home (all images courtesy of the Wall Street Journal magazine’s September issue):

The 13th century Chateau de Champgillon in the Vendee region
The chateau’s oak barn, which was restored to house the shoe archive
Stiletto-istas, this is it! Our Holy Grail…our place of worship. Christian Louboutin’s shoe archive.
Can you imagine working as the curator for his archive and getting paid in shoes – like this little sexy thang?
The designer himself, Monsieur Louboutin, at home. Doing some shoe organizing. Celebrities…they’re just like us!

Anyhooz – we were fascinated to learn that Mr. Louboutin’s shoes have fans whose obsessions are of such magnitude that they can start their own Louboutin archive. Imelda Marcos supposedly had 3,ooo pairs of shoes?…phooey shoemey, girlfriend has NOTHING on these Louboutin shoe-crazed women!

One fan, in particular, is so fanatical that she currently owns more than 6,000 pairs of Louboutins. She is known to walk into a Louboutin shop in Paris or New York and buy between 60 to 80 pairs…right on the spot! Can you imagine the fabulousity??? Good thing this glamorous Louboutin fan is loaded in her own right and can afford her indulgences; known as “The Queen of Romance” for being one of the world’s bestselling romance novelists, she rakes in millions each year on royalties alone.

Who can be more Imeldific than Imelda Marcos? WHO is she? C’mon and ‘fess up, Stiletto-istas, you may have even read one of her books. It’s Monday Funday y’all, give me your Best Guess  in the Comments below and have a beautiful week ahead!

Gobsmacked: Shopping at Sanyuanli Clothing Market

Up until today, we’d ventured to all kinds of wholesale markets in Guangzhou, from the pet fish market to the bling-bling market… but we’d actually never been to a clothes market. Duh! It was high time to rectify the situation so, with two girlfriends whom I’d bamboozled into showing me the way, off we went.

Our destination was the wholesale clothing market district of Sanyuanli. My girlfriends had forewarned me that because of the overwhelming sheer volume of clothes for sale, it was best to tackle the shopping by going one market or building at a time. So, baby steps, dear Stiletto-istas, baby steps…

I thought I was used to shopping in markets by now, in Beijing & Shanghai, in Bangkok & Manila, but when we got there, I swear to God, I was still overwhelmed. Absolutely gobsmacked. This market had five storeys and there were sooooooo many shops, selling soooooo many clothes, from women’s, men’s, children’s clothes, you name it, they had it all. Piles upon bundles, plastic bags upon sacks, it was insane! Some shops had prices quoting by the kilogramme! Some shops didn’t bother about any sort of display at all; clothes were simply strewn about, spilling out of plastic bags that looked suspiciously like the black plastic garbage bags you see only in kitchens. Walk into these shops and you feel like an unwitting extra in that horrifyingly addictive reality TV show, “Hoarders.”

And to think this was just in a single building…this entire district had streets upon streets, with buildings upon buildings, all devoted to clothing. For instance, a quick peek at the building next door revealed an entire barrio crammed with shops all selling jeans.

Anyhooz, I was busy walking around wide-eyed with mouth agape, that I completely forgot to take photos of the market for you guys. I do apologize for that but – worry not! – our morning wasn’t completely wasted.

In order not to go completely batshit-crazy in the market, I’d decided to concentrate on hunting for very specific clothing items. Clothes which I know I can always use here in Guangzhou or Hong Kong, with sub-tropical climates, are always handy in tropical countries like the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and can always be counted on as summer staples.

Stylish white cotton tops and/or dresses: this was my mission.  It took a couple of hours of combing through that market but I’m happy to report…mission successfully accomplished! When I got home, I then had fun playing amateur stylist and putting together outfits and accessories to go with my newly purchased whites. Here are the results!

White eyelet smock top with 3/4 sleeves. Pair with candy-hued shorts (like this scarlet pair) & accessorize with a funky necklace to enhance its simple neckline. Doesn’t the white top just pop?
Another white eyelet number, this one with an elastic waistband & shoulder (so you can choose to bare both shoulders or go assymetrical, with one shoulder bared). For a soft yet sexy look, pair with white denim cut-off minis (like this) or your scruffiest Daisy Dukes. Accessorize those tanned bare shoulders with a dramatic statement necklace.
This entire outfit is so totally moi, it’s practically my uniform! Loose white embroidered top (check out that gorgeous detailing around the neckline & sleeves) paired with creamy khaki shorts & a matching jute & wood necklace. Slip on flat or wedge espadrilles & you’re good to go. Gaaah, so adorbs!
The party top! All sleek, shiny & sequinned in a very simple, chic cut. Imagine with your favourite skinny jeans and…your sexiest pair of STILETTOS, OF COURSE, DAHLINGS! Sizzle, sizzle!

Let me share a secret with you, seeing as we’re all besties here and all: I actually already had a similar top to that top above sitting in my closet at home, the exact same cut, style, fabric & sequins, but in silver, not in white. Except that my old silver top was purchased at Calvin Klein and had cost me an absolute BOMB (this was when The Bamboo Stiletto was still a corporate rat racer and was earning accordingly, having no time then to bargain-hunt in markets). You will absolutely die when I tell you how much the white Calvin look-alike above actually cost me. 🙂

Speaking of corporate rat racers, here’s a stylish look for the office. Working girl, you can go from business meetings to a working dinner with this ensemble:

A practical yet pretty white top with lace & eyelet embellishments is feminine yet businesslike when paired with a pencil skirt in neutral hues like this grey. Amp up the style with a simple necklace or an elegant belt. When heading out for dinner with work colleagues or business clients, a stylish alternative to the usual blazer is a great scarf.

And, lastly, here’s a sweet look that’s ideal for a surprise lunch date with the boyfriend or the hubby. Especially if it’s a special lunch date, y’ know, like meeting his Mom for the first time (wanna make a good, demure ladylike impression, right, babes?) :

A simple white eyelet sheath spells dewy romance when paired with soft pearls & strappy sandals. A statement scarf – such as this gorgeous silk beauty designed by our creative & talented friend VAL – definitely adds ooooompppphhhhh! Interested in snagging a signature VAL scarf like this for yourself? Easy-peasy. Just click on http://expressionsbyval.wordpress.com/

So, those were the results of our morning hunt for alles weiss at Sanyuanli. Not bad, eh? And NOW, apres le shopping, you nosy Stiletto-istas may be asking, what was la damage? Let’s see, you can see that we bought a total of 5 tops & 1 dress, correct? Our total cost for this entire loot came to RMB 415 (approximately USD 70). Less than a hundred bucks, can you believe it? The Calvin look-alike sequinned top? That was the best bargain of the lot, costing me RMB 35 (about USD 6!!!). The dress was the most expensive, with a cost of RMB 120 (about USD 20).

My girlfriends reminded me that actually, the cost per item was still rather high because I had only bought one piece of each item and seeing as we were in a wholesale market, the prices could still have gone lower if I had bought multiple pieces. Gaaaah! Whaaaa…??? How on earth do these people make any profit? The mind boggles!

So now that we’ve successfully completed our baby steps-shopping at Sanyuanli, we look forward to sharing our future, more confident shopping forays with y’all. Excited, Stiletto-istas? Because we sure are! 🙂

How to get there: Very simple. Take the Guangzhou metro to Sanyuanli station, take exit D and the market is right on top. No need to even get out onto the street. Another, more comfy option, is to cab it & ask the driver to drop you at Sanyuanli ditie (metro station), walk down into the station and look for exit D. Make sure to bring cash only, plastic not welcome in most places in this market. Happy shopping!

2012 Olympics Eye Candy: Opening Ceremony Outfits We “Heart”!

We tried our darndest to stay up to watch the live broadcast of the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony in London on TV. Epic fail…we dozed off at 2am and instead, woke up at 7:30am.

Seeing as the live broadcast started at 4am, we initially missed the entire thing but thankfully, China still has vestiges of an Olympics hang-over after hosting it in 2008 so CCTV (state-owned national TV) is currently providing wall-to-wall coverage. They replayed the entire Opening Ceremony which made for a convenient and fun Saturday morning while I simultaneously stayed in bed and ordered a room service  breakfast (Herr Hubby and I are still making the Four Seasons Guangzhou our temporary home).

The Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing was a tough act to follow…I still remember getting goosebumps from that show, a truly amazing feat by Chinese film director Zhang Yimou. Well, in opening this London Olympics, I think British film director Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”, “The Beach”, “Trainspotting”) did a stupendous job; to quote the BBC’s most over-used words this morning, the Opening Ceremony was indeed “remarkable” and “extraordinary”.  Although, personally, I would have been happy with a little bit more of David Beckham. I mean, this is the Olympics – we love seeing successful, stylish, impeccably groomed godlike athletes in tight, shiny suits, don’t we?

One thing which has become sort of a delicious Bamboo Stiletto ritual during the Games’ opening is watching the Parade of Athletes to check out the various teams’ outfits. For us, this segment of the Opening is like an international fashion show of multi-cultural style, modeled by a global assortment of eye candy, all in glistening peak physical condition. What’s not to “heart”? So….let the Games begin!

Here’s our Top 5 Picks for Most Stylish Teams (in no particular order or ranking):
1.) Denmark

One of the few teams that did separate but beautifully coordinating outfits for ladies and gentlemen, I especially loved how Team Denmark made their female athletes look so feminine. Beside the ladies, the gentlemen looked even more dashing and masculine in their navy blue-grey suits.

2.) Serbia

Team Serbia also had separate yet coordinating his and hers outfits, which they kept casual chic and cool. Dontcha love the girls’ perky blazer & shorts combo???Tennis champ and Serbian flag bearer, Novak Djokovic, wore his shirt carelessly untucked underneath his red pullover and, coupled with a rebellious stubble, was a statement in studied nonchalance.

3.) Netherlands

oh, how the Dutch and I swear only the Dutch can pull off wearing orange trousers. Not only does Team Netherlands pull off the orange pants but when paired with their cobalt blue trench-style blazers and preppy white tennis cardigans, they looked downright poppin’! As an aside, I remember that this team was also on my most stylish list during the 2008 Olympics. Pale dove grey blazers and trousers paired with the most adorable orange ties, again which only the Dutch can pull off…

Get a load of the Dutch when they unveiled their Olympic uniforms a few weeks ago – won’t you love a bite of that orange trench? This is stuff that we actually do want to wear!

Dutch treat!

4.) Sweden

Team Sweden’s ebullient candy-striped sweaters just spelled adorable. Especially when paired with the ladies’ pleated minis. Very United Colours of Benetton. Note the colour coordinated kicks & laces…how Scandi-cute is that?

5.) South Korea

Natty nautical-inspired outfits from sportswear giant FILA who was responsible for South Korea’s look (four on the left were Opening Ceremony ensembles). Too bad we have no actual photo during the Opening Ceremony…Team SK looked so dang cute!!!

Special Mentions – for looking extra-stylin’ and/or festive as befitting the Olympics (again, in no particular order or ranking):

1.) France

aah, the French never fail to live up to our style expectations. I mean, how GOOD do these athletes look? We especially have a weakness for their tennis players. And spot the cute little red ballet flats on the ladies? We HEART!

Btw, Team France really set the bar high for Olympic uniforms, unveiling these minimally stylish threads by Adidas a few weeks ago:

Voulez vous…?

2.) USA

I thought Team USA worked it! Yes, yes, I know we’re not quite sure if the beret works…the French can carry a beret with requisite elan but Americans seem a bit ambivalent about it. Also, yes, we’re aware of the huge hoo-ha in the US upon realizing that these Ralph Lauren outfits were actually made in China. But hey, weren’t the Ralph Lauren uniforms back in Olympics 2008 – which also looked super stylin’, btw – also made in China? Where was the hoo-ha back then??? oh Americans & the drama 🙂

When Team USA unveiled their uniforms, the Ralph Lauren/”Gossip Girl” Manhattan Upper East prep chic look is pitch perfect:

Team USA’s controversial Olympics uniforms, by Ralph Lauren. Regardless of where it’s produced, in my mind, what makes it look vaguely non-American are the French-style berets, with the red, white & blue stripe on the side. I have a Lacoste beret exactly like this, with the little alligator on the side in red, white & blue stripes! Perhaps a “newsie” cap would have been more American, more New York anyhow…
Bass. Chuck Bass.

3.) Germany

What a delightful festive surprise, Team Germany! Keeping flag colours to a minimum (accents only on trilbys) & instead rocking pastel pinks and cornflower blues, with darling matching scarves, was so un-German & so unexpected…we LOVED it. Btw, this team seemed to be one of the rowdiest & most boisterous (one girl clambered on top of a guy’s shoulders) that for a second I thought the Australians had paraded again! haha!

4.) Brazil

There’s something about the Brazilians that just make us smile and chortle. They’re just yummy-delicious! Team Brazil wore their colours in exuberant combinations, with ladies in mini-skirts showing off tanned athletic legs (and why NOT?), matching scarves loose around their necks…meowrrrr! What is it about these people, they just look so friggin’ SEKSI?!?!

5.) Paraguay

and speaking of SEKSI…like the Netherlands, Team Paraguay also came up with outfits that we would love to get our Stilettos in. Check out this va-va-voom wrap & tie fire engine-red dress! The gentlemen in their bright blue blazers, snowy white trousers & crimson ties looked natty too.

Expected More Stylin’ From:

Admittedly, my expectations for Team Italy were MASSIVE, to begin with…I mean, their uniforms are designed by The Master himself, Giorgio Armani. Even the lowly deckhand staff working on this guy’s personal yacht are nattily attired, as featured once in Vogue (or was that Vanity Fair?). Anyway, these were the uniforms he unveiled for Team Italy a few weeks ago…ok, very Armani. Very understated. But what are they wearing for the Opening?
…and here’s Team Italy during the Opening Ceremony. Again, very understated. Stylish, yes. But VERY subdued. It’s not terrible, of course not, you can see even from just a TV screen’s perspective, these are exceptionally cut, extremely well-tailored suits. Just slightly underwhelming in terms of overall presentation. These are Italians, for goodness sakes, they’re supposed to rule with cool! I just expected a bit more Lapo Elkann dash and flair, not the constipated investment banker look. Fashion critics everywhere are raving about Team Italy’s look though.

Biggest “Huh?” Moment:

Great Britain

We expected a LOT from the host; Great Britain after all is the home of great,innovative, edgy designers, e.g. Stella McCartney, Christopher Bailey, Sarah Burton, to name a few. So when Team GB strolled out, we were like: “Huh?” Stella McCartney’s PR people were quick to tweet during the Opening Ceremony that these white & gold tracksuits are NOT hers – she only designed the athletes’ performance kits & village wear. Ouch! Apparently, these were done by British apparel retailer Next. Why in the world didn’t they get Christopher Bailey to do the Opening Ceremony outfits? What’s more cool Britannia than Burberry???

So, Stiletto-istas, that’s a wrap for our coverage of Olympics Opening Ceremony fashion. Hope you enjoyed  it as much as we did! In closing, we leave you with a parting shot of the Olympic torch as carried by the tall cool drink of water that’s David Beckham, who we think was woefully under-utilized by Danny Boyle:

THIS is how Team GB should have rocked, y’all!

Did YOU watch the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in YOUR corner of the world? Which teams landed in YOUR Best Dressed and Worst Dressed List? Just some lighthearted fun this weekend, Stiletto-istas, let’s hear it from YOU!!!

Style Find: Celebration, an original collection of scarves, by VAL

gorgeous limited edition long scarves on 100% silk chiffon, personally designed by VAL…perfect for inflight travel style or for just spicing up that summer outfit!

The Bamboo Stiletto was in a state of excitement when we received a personal note from a multi-talented good friend and former “rat race” colleague, VAL, about the recent launch of “Celebration”, an original collection of gorgeous long scarves on 100% silk chiffon personally designed by VAL herself. The scarves’ launch coincided with the debut of VAL’s own blog about the creativity and inspirations behind her designs – check out Expressions by VAL (including how to order her scarves) here!

You must know that The Bamboo Stiletto is infatuated with accessories; we believe that it completely makes or breaks an outfit. For the lucky ducks out there who are travelling to fabulous summer destinations, these “art to wear” scarves would make the perfect stylish inflight travel accessory. Think about it, won’t you love snuggling up in the cozy warmth of your own soft long VAL scarf instead of those scratchy airline blankets on long flights? Or, if you’re not travelling and simply staying put, a colourful VAL scarf is just perfect for jazzing up any summer outfit. Scarves & stilettos…what’s not to love?

Of course we are now absolutely besotted with getting our hands on a VAL scarf of our own. For our Shanghai Stiletto-istas, did you know that you can buy a VAL scarf at Simply Life – our fave lifestyle store in trendy Xintiandi, The Bamboo Stiletto’s old neighborhood? As for the rest of us, thank goodness for the internet because now we can all buy a VAL scarf without travelling to Shanghai! We’re debating between these 2 designs: “A Fishy Tale” or “Summer Sun”?

Hmmm…why don’t you check out VAL’s designs for yourself and tell us which one is your favourite???