Archive | March, 2011

Sparkly Bags at Souk Al Bahar

30 Mar

I am a bit of magpie, so when wandering through Souk Al Bahar last night my eye was caught by a kiosk covered in sparkly bags. Part of me thought ewwww too much sparkle and colour, but another part of me could not stop looking at them, not sure if I really liked them or really not!

It’s always a worry when you move to a new city that you start to soak up a style you previously thought was garish, dull or just not classy (I came back to London after living in Hamburg and felt very conservative! I also saw for the first time how English women can look quite tarty and trashy to other Europeans – and felt a bit ashamed at things I had worn in the past).

Anyhow, I digress!

The bags in question were by a company called Vogue In. Which, as a native English speaker I am not totally comfortable about, but anyhow, they’ve got the .com domain name, so good for them. I wanted to show you some pictures, but I have to be honest, the pictures on their website are not good – think bags on draped white satin, poorly lit….ok, you don’t have to imagine it, here:

Beaded Bag by Vogue In

 

Beaded Bag by Vogue In

 

Beaded Bag by Vogue In

I have put these on my blog as I think they could be a nice alternative to an Accessorize  purse for weddings and parties (at five times the price), but I would not recommend buying on their website, it’s a bit confusing. Rather, if you can, be a magpie yourself at their kiosk in Souk Al Bahar, Dubai Mall.

www.voguein.com

K xx

I’d love to meet Anna Wintour…

26 Mar

….but I’d also be really scared to! She’s one of those people who could be amazing to know….but it could also be the worst experience of your life if she decides she doesn’t like you.

Anna Wintour on cover of WSJ March 2011

I am definitely going to hunt around Dubai for a copy of this weekend’s WSJ magazine however, as I am always interested in reading about her. The glimpse of her we saw in The September Issue really whet my appetite – I find her the most intriguing woman.

If I met her, here are a few of the questions I’d ask her:

1. What do you think of Victoria Beckham as a designer?

2. What is it that excites you about new talent – what do you look out for?

3. If you had to choose between the fashion industry and your family – who’d win?!

K x

Bad Hair Days No More

20 Mar

Kay Bruce wears abaya

 

When I first moved to the Middle East I thought it must be no fun for the local ladies to cover up their cool clothes and gorgeous hair…but then I started to get to know local ladies and realised there are some definite upsides to the Abaya and Sheila….such as hiding bad hair days!!

To be honest – for the hour or so I wore this abaya I did feel somewhat claustrophobic. But I guess, once you get used to it, it could be quite liberating – you could wear your pyjamas to the shops!! (and Tesco could do nothing about it!)

This blog is on style and not limited to fashion, so here are a couple of pics of an incredibly beautiful building.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is wonderful. For a religion that is often associated with masculine power and domination, this mosque is incredibly feminine.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Courtyard

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - marble flooring of courtyard

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - inside the main prayer room

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - ceiling of the womens' prayer room

 K xx

Spring Bok into Spring!

16 Mar

No, the Spring Bok is not a new-fangled dance routine, nor is it a chinese vegetable – guess again….!

Ok, for those of you, who, like me until a couple of weeks ago, had never heard of the Spring Bok (I may be showing my un-worldlyness at this point…) let me educate you:

African Spring Bok - Antelope Species

This beautiful creature is the Spring Bok, a species of Antelope found in South Africa and farmed for its meat (which is considered a delicacy) and soft hide.

The Spring Bok hide has a distinctive set of markings and is recognisable by its “fan of tail hairs”, which makes it a wonderful hide for unique bags….there it is! The fashion bit…for a while there you were thinking I had gone all David Attenborough on you – fear not!

Spring Bok bags are soft and chic and not often found outside of Africa….until now!

Enter Bagich, a line of stylish Spring Bok bags designed and modelled by dutch designer Nora van Eerten:

Bagich Designer, Nora, models her latest piece

Nora’s bags are hand stitched in Durban, South Africa (where she currently lives with her husband and two young children) and available in boutiques in South Africa, The Netherlands and also available worldwide via her website: www.bagich.com  

Add some Bagich Spring Bok chic to your Spring 2011 wardrobe!

K x

Swedish 3D Knits

14 Mar

I love to knit. I’ve knitted scarves (one I laboured over for my husband…and he never wears! Ok, we live in the desert, but he never wore it when we lived in icey Europe either!), half a hat, a gilet with holes…ok, so I’m not the best. Have you tried?! It’s hard!

So, given my questionable knitting skills, I am in awe of Swedish designer Sandra Backlund. This 3d knitted dress, modelled here by Tilda Swinton, is awesome!

Tilda Swinton in Sandra Backlund 3D Knitted Dress

Here are a few more examples of Sandra’s work. I would love to try them on to see what they feel like:

Sandra Backlund 3D Knitted Dress

Sandra Backlund Knitted...what? What is it?!

Sandra Backlund Knitted Copper Dress

Yes, apparently copper can be knitted! So can bamboo….my colleague at Craft Land was knitting with bamboo yarn yesterday…and not a panda in sight!

Sandra Backlund 3D Knitted Top

I bet this one keeps preditors at bay…

Sandra always designs unique collections – check them out at www.sandrabacklund.com

K xx

Lovin the Bumpy Hide

12 Mar

Before I left London I fell in love with this gorgeous YSL bag below:

YSL Ostrich Hide Bag

I found it for sale on t’interweb (as my bestie calls it!) at a discount and thought it was my lucky day. The site looked professional so I decided to buy. However, when inputting my credit card details, I was taken to a page with Chinese symbols….this was the point at which I thought…er oh….is this going to be a fake?! I did not want a fake (not my bag, baby 🙂 ).

Luckily, without having to wait for it to arrive, I was contacted by the company to say the bag was out of stock  – what alternative bag did I want? I didn’t want an alternative, no way! It took me some time to get a refund, but it did eventually come – and I learned my lesson. If you find an exclusive designer bag online at a gobsmacking discount…don’t do it…no matter what they say, it will be a fake! And you’ll know it…. it’s like winning when you know you cheated.

Anyhow, I still love this bag and have a growing thing for all accessories made from Ostrich hide. So here’s a selection of bumpy leather goods for those who, like me, find it fun, fabulous and chic!

Hermes Ostrich Hide Wallet

Mulberry Ostrich Hide Bayswater

Bulgari Ostrich Hide Clutch

In fact, I’m thinking of designing a line of Ostrich hide bags…I’ll keep you posted!

K xx

Be-Jewelled

10 Mar

I don’t wear a massive amount of jewellery (not rapper style anyway!) – but love unique pieces I can dress up simple ensembles with. So I’m always looking out for something special.

This week I went to a private house jewellery exhibition here in Dubai – where jewellery designer Oytun Camcigil was displaying her collection. She makes unique pieces out of semi precious stones and antique silver, and also buys in traditional designs from her native Istanbul. I really enjoyed browsing her collection and found several pieces I wanted to buy – alas the budget would not allow for all of them, but I did buy a gorgeous silver bracelet (thanks Mum  🙂 – see below):

Turkish Silver Cuff from Oytun Camcigil

I also came across some great pieces in Boutique One last week – by fashion-world famous Alexis Bittar. Alexis makes jewellery for many of the top designers’ shows – and his pieces are not excessively priced – check him out at www.alexisbittar.com

Alexis Bittar Earrings

Alexis Bittar Bangle

I also reallly love London based Lara Bohinc – for a bit of art deco/cleopatra glamour! Her website is: www.larabohinc.com

Lara Bohinc Earrings

Lara Bohinc Necklace

K xx

Kay Bruce Spring/Summer 2011

7 Mar

A year and a half ago I left my job to re-train as a womenswear designer. In London I focused on pattern cutting and construction – shying away from design as I had never learned to draw (well, not well anyway!). When I moved to Dubai and joined the french fashion school, ESMOD, I decided it was time to face my fears…

I took the 3-month fashion workshop and worked on creating mood boods, colour palettes, fabric ranges….and fashion drawings. At the end of those 3 months I now have the beginnings of a fashion portfolio.

My collection is Spring/Summer 2011 and based on the trend “Elitist Elegance” – which has middle eastern and decadent elements.

Below are my mood board and final 6 designs – let me know what you think!

K x

Kay Bruce Spring/Summer 2011 Mood Board

Kay Bruce Spring/Summer 2011

Kay Bruce Spring/Summer 2011

Kay Bruce Spring/Summer 2011

Kay Bruce Spring/Summer 2011

Kay Bruce Spring/Summer 2011

Kay Bruce Spring/Summer 2011

Eel Skin Handbag – would you adam and eve it?!

6 Mar

I was mooching around the very cool Boutique One in Dubai today (waiting for a more boring shop to open I must add, so my husband doesn’t read this and think I’ve been hitting the shops again!) when I came across a wonderful oversized pink clutch bag, see exhibit A below:

Exhibit A: Heidi Mottram Pink Clutch

I spent some time opening and closing it, stroking it, checking out the quality of it’s interior (as one does) – it was lovely, but with the price no where in sight, I decided to set it down and move on… not without noting down the name of the designer first: Heidi Mottram – from London – of course!

I got home and looked her up, always eager to check out my future competition… 🙂 And to my surprise discovered that the lovely soft strokey “leather” I had been pawing was not leather at all – but eel skin…EEL SKIN I TELL YOU! Who would have known? I thought those little blighters were slippery and soggy and mushy and yukky….the sort of animal at home in the company of Ursula the Sea Witch…yes, you know the ones I mean…scarey!

Turns out not only are eels a London delicacy, but damned good for making handbags out of. According to Miss Mottram, Eel skin is a superior “hide” to leather – it’s thiner, stronger, softer and….doesn’t mark or discolour when it gets wet! Wonderful!

I just have one question….how on earth does she find pink eels?? 😉

Check out her designs (very cool) at: www.heidimottram.co.uk

Til next time

K xx