Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Monday, December 29, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
My last post about Lagerfeld Confidential was what the French would call "faire une tartine". I wish I could say that this refers to some mouth watering pastry, but in fact it actually describes a written work that is really....really long. So in the spirit of mixing things up, I have decided to keep this post brief. Because, in the words of a witty line I read in Eat, Pray, Love this morning, "the next time you feel the need to cry about spilled milk, make sure it's condensed, will ya?"
So here are my August Picks of the Month for Vancouver:
Shop: Blo Blow Dry Bar
Activity: Rollerblading in Stanley Park
Rent rollerblades from one of the many shops on Denman Street (just off Georgia Street) and blade all the way around the beautiful, breezy seawall of nearby Stanley Park. Great fun with girlfriends, boyfriends and families, a trip along the seawall is also enjoyable on foot or bike.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Once upon a time last Fall I heard whispers of a new documentary about to hit the international fashion circuit. A film so unique in that it would follow the private day to day activities of the 21st century's most illustrious fashion designer in a way the has never been revealed to the public before. Of course, this God-like, larger than life King of the fashion world in none other than Karl Lagerfeld, the documentary appropriately being titled Lagerfeld Confidential.
Director Rodolphe Marconi has spent the past two years trailing Mr. Lagerfeld through the daily n'importe quoi's of his business, personal and public life, giving viewers a rare glimse into the unique workings of a genius's brain. Hopefully Marconi will be able to shed some light on how this veritable renaissance man is capable of creating more that 6 collections annually for Chanel alone, as well as several for Fendi and his own Lagerfeld Gallery Line, yet manage to find time to work on his photography artwork, create mixed CDs and design for various fashion and luxury firms that solicit his creative talents for special products (think H&M, Dom Perignon, Colette).
Anyone who is interested in catching a glimpse can visit the film`s MySpace page, which has a series of wonderful clips and trailers from the movie. As I have mentioned in my writing before, I am a big fan of people who have a unique worldview and who have no problem giving their opinions, regardless of how others may react. Instead of telling people what they want to hear, they speak the truth, and do I ever get excited when people express these simple, undeniable truths. They make me feel as though a weight that has been created by the heavy, false illusions of society has finally been removed. Needless to say, Kaiser Karl is a big fan of speaking his wise mind and reveals his wisdom throughout the film, transforming from artist to unexpected guru. In even better news, this food for the stylish soul is almost entirely shown in the clips on MySpace, so one doesn`t need to hunt down the film to take in Karl`s personal mantras.
After watching the trailer I was as eager to see this film as a small child is on Christmas morning; however, a full copy of the documentary was nowhere to be found. Surely it must be available somewhere. Step 1) google it. This took me to the official website of the video where one can purchase the DVD. But fashion has never been a huge believer in Canada and decided that a copy cannot be purchased and sent there. Step 2) Amazon.com. Sorry, but your request is not available. Shoot! Step 3) Search the web relentlessly until a copy pops up on some blog or movie site that I can watch online. No such luck...
Still, I`m not one to give up when I put my mind to something, so I would periodically search the internet for the film over the cold months that followed. One unexpected evening in May I finally stumbled upon my diamond in the rough...in five parts, all complete with Japanese subtitles. Immediately I started to watch the live-stream download with a degree of focus usually reserved for exam writing and shoe shopping. I had waited for and anticipated the brilliance of this film for too long not to give it my full attention.
Yet somehow - quelle horreur! - I find my thoughts wondering...wondering over to the Teen Vogue website which I have opened unawares in a new browser. The sound of Lagerfeld's voice lingers in the background, but now feels most distant. Could I actually be bored? After I waited so long to be let in to the secret world of King Karl? Maybe this was just the typical reaction for any movie where the anticipation builds over such a long period that my expectations reach higher than the Eiffel Tower, impossible to be met. But at the same time I was more excited for the long-awaited Sex and the City Movie than a Miu Miu sample sale yet was gleefully jumping out of my seat from the second I heard Carrie's familiar telltale voice to long after the credits began to roll. So is it actually possible that this film was a wee-bit overated? I guess my opinion by the end of the film was that all the best parts, Karl's wise and opinionated musings, had aleady been shown in the trailer and clips I had seen months beforehand - a common trap of the film industry. Perhaps it was also that my French isn't exactly up to snuff and maybe the slight language barrier prevented me from getting the entire meaning of what was happening in the various scenes.
So all in all, Lagerfeld Confidential wasn't a bad film. In fact it was quite nice. It would be particularly enjoyed by someone who has seen little Lagerfeld footage in the past. To more seasoned Karl-o-philes, there is not that much new to see. As the French would put it, the footage is lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. Nevertheless, I would still recommend the film to fellow fashioniastas if they can get their Tiffany-laden hands on a copy. It is not however worth going out of one's way to find.
So I will leave you here with a few of my favorite Lagerfeld quotes from Rodolphe Marconi's two-year labour of love.
"I don't want to be a reality in peoples' lives, I want to be like an apparition."
"I hate people who cannot be alone."
"What I love about photos is that they evoke an instant that is thereafter lost forever."
"To love someone is great, but you also have to like a person who loves you, the way you want to be loved, at the time when you love them. That's a whole other thing."
"Fashion is fleeting, dangerous and unjust."
"I only change; I am attached to nothing."
"I am a total improvisation."
Ti amo Karl. Gracie Mille.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Restaurant: Dundarave Fish Market
2423 Marine Drive, West Vancouver, www.dundaravefishmarket.com
Oxymoron (definition): A figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory terms.
Example: Vancouver and Value
Recently, thanks to years of set menu meals in Europe, I have become of the opinion that there really are no restaurants, outside the sushi circuit, serving both great food and providing great value in Vancouver. As the city rises in status on the international scene, so do its prices. However there remain a few culinary gems that for now are dominated mainly by a faithful posse of locals.
My favourite place is a West Coast fusion seafood restaurant located in quaint Dundarave, a trendy neighbourhood in West Vancouver. The Dundarave Fish Market boasts an original, to-die-for menu with items such as smoked black cod risotto, cedar plank salmon, Cajun snapper burgers, mussels a la Provencal, candied pecan scallop salad (amazing!), and its uber popular crab cakes. Considered the it-place among West Vancouverites, the restaurant sticks to its seafood theme with hip marine decor and a funky nautical martini list. It even has a lovely sun-soaked patio where customers can chat over a glass of cool sangria while working on their tans. My favourite dishes are the rip-tide squid, tug boat lettuce wrap and famed halibut fish n’ chips.
The Dundarave Fish Market is a great place for out-of-towners to get the true West Coast foodie experience. To be guaranteed a spot, make a reservation on their website because, as a friend once said, the only bad thing about the Dundarave Fish Market is not being able to get a table.
Song: Oh by Micky Green
Movie: The White Masai
Book: Eat, Pray, Love
Artist: Gustav Klimt
Trend: Silk and satin jewel tone dresses
Food: Seafood Salad
City/Place: Reykjavik, Iceland
TV Show: What Not to Wear
Monday, May 26, 2008
Hotel: City Walls Hostel
No.57, NianZi HuTong, JingShanHouJie, DongCheng District, http://www.beijingcitywalls.com/
It may be true that old Beijing is rapidly disappearing; however, a few traditional pockets still remain throughout the modern city that evoke its old Chinese charm – these are the Hutongs. The Hutongs are the traditional style of housing in Beijing, consisting of narrow little streets lined with doors and high walls that conceal courtyard style homes that house entire extended families. They may look rustic from the outside, but inside they are each a private oasis.
Through hotelworld.com I booked the most fabulous hostel I have probably ever stayed at on any of my globetrotting adventures. Situated in a centrally located but hard to find area near the Forbidden City (get directions written in Chinese before arriving), Sitting on the Walls is a beautifully renovated brand new hostel oozing with feng shui and a friendly atmosphere. It is very clean, it is run by ridiculously friendly and helpful staff, attracts a nice crowd of people, serves great food, doesn’t get too rowdy, and is home to a really adorable little pooch. Most of all it just looks super cool! They have very affordable dorm style rooms with bunk beds and private double bed accommodation at a slightly higher price. All rooms have an ensuite bathroom, with a western toilet I may add, which is somewhat of a luxury in China. Just remember, you came to Beijing to see the city, not to hang around your ultra magnifico hostel, so do force yourself to venture out from this peaceful abode for at least a few hours each day.
Restaurant: Noodle Loft (Mian Ku Shanxi Shiyi)
No. 20 Dawang Road, Chaoyang District, http://www.fro
Thanks to the eternally grumpy Anthony Bourdain I discovered this trendy but cheap Chinese restaurant. Due to to my horrendous directions I nearly gave up on ever finding this eccentric noodle house extraordinaire, but I’m glad my persistence paid off and I got to experience the 30 ft noodle myself. Sit back, relax and watch the chefs in the open kitchen (bottom floor) make your noodle-y dishes with big knives, chopsticks and wild arm movements. From the looks of it, I bet it all tastes good. I ordered and loved the 30 ft long noodle with a spicy aubergine sauce and the caramel covered sweet potatoes (so delish if you have a major sweet tooth – dip in accompanied water dish before eating to cool). Not to be left out, the servers were nice and the food arrived quickly. Three thumbs up!
Cafe: Confucius Teahouse
28 Guozijian Street, Andingmen Wai Dajie, Dongcheng district, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/asia/china/1586231/Beijing-travel-guide-teashops-and-nightlife.html
I have a theory that travel is most enjoyable when you get to pair each cultural visit of the day with a little nibble of local cuisine or a break at a nice cafe. In my family we call this the “un chateau, un gateau” principle. Besides, it helps prevent that bothersome sore feet syndrome that seems to creep up on tourists. On one such afternoon in Beijing, after visiting both the Lama Temple and the Confucius temple, my friend and I decided that no trip to China would be complete without experiencing an authentic Chinese tea ceremony. We chose the Confucius Teahouse across the street from the Confucius Temple, aka the best, most serene tea place in town, for our little repose. Served by a gracious young girl, we were taken through the steps of the ceremony and got to drink to two delicate green teas that we had selected beforehand. They also serve funny little traditional cakes to enjoy with your tea and, drum roll please, they have a really nice western toilet. Last but not least, the teahouse isn’t very pricey. It is a great place to seek refuge from the bustling city outside and a must-stop on your itinerary.
Culture: Around Beijing
This is my list of must-see attractions in Beijing that every first-time tourist here should see. The Forbidden city, the Great Wall, Lama Temple, Confucius Temple, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Jingshan Park and Beihan Park. If you are looking to buy anything, visit the Pearl Market and don’t forget to bargain. You should never have to pay more than 25% of the initial offered price. Zaichien! (Goodbye!)
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Musician: Leona Lewis
Movie: Lagerfeld Confidential
Book: The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
Artist: Peter Lik
Drink: Croft Sherry
Food: Fresh Grilled Halibut
TV Show: The Hills
Monday, May 19, 2008
Yangshuo is a lovely little town in Southern China with some of the most extraordinary scenery I have ever seen. It is the China of yesteryear that we have dreamt about, with classic styled buildings, farmers picking rice, bamboo rafts floating down river and lush green limestone hills shooting out of the ground as far as the eye can see. It is part of the old world China that is quickly being replaced with 6 lane highways and skyscrapers. Allow yourself the pleasure of visiting this special place before it disappears.
Sightseeing: Hike and take a Li River cruise
By small raft which departs from the dock below the tourist market
It’s time to get up close and personal. Yangshuo is one of the most beautiful scenic spots in the world so what better way to see it than on foot. Hike up its most famous limestone mountain, half-moon peak, to get a great view of the landscape and to work off that extra serving of sweet and sour pork you took when no one was watching. And if you are lucky, and I can pretty much guarantee that you will be, a sweet and very enthusiastic Chinese woman will insist on leading you up the hill, carrying chilled drinks and a fan to keep you cool. She won’t take no for an answer so go with the flow and give her a few Yuan for her troubles at the end. It’s all part of the experience.
Another great way to experience the limestone peaks is on a relaxing cruise along the Li River on a traditional bamboo raft. It is a great way to lose the horde of tourists in town and you to enjoy the serene peacefulness of the limestone backdrop against the calm river. You will never want to leave the magical place!
Shopping: Explore the many shops on West Street and the nearby market by the Li River.
When you booked your trip to China everyone you know and their grandmother probably supplied you with a list of must-have items to bring back that they just had to have. Although Yangshuo is no big city, its stores sell almost anything you will be looking to buy. From silk, to leather goods, hello kitty cell phone accessories, chopstick sets and (I hate to encourage this but whatever) knock-off everything; you can buy it all here and for the same price as in any market in China. There are lots of little shops along this street, which comes to a crescendo in the evening. Just don’t forget to bargain, bargain, bargain! Although they may not look it, shopkeepers will respect you for it. Don’t pay more than a quarter of the starting price they give you and be nice but firm. And remember, if they can profitably sell it to you at your price, they will. It’s like playing a game – have fun!
Culture: “Impression on Sanjie Liu” theatre production
Now you say that you are more than happy eat Chinese food and shop all night long as your evening entertainment. After all, you are on vacation...it doesn’t count, right? You might even make brief appearance at the karaoke bar down the street. But did you know that there is a first class outdoor performance just on the other side of town. More specifically, it is a music, singing, dancing and lights show performed on water with the cascading hills lit up in the background. Created by the same man that is putting together the production of the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing this August, this show took over 5 years to produce and has a cast of thousands. Like nothing you will have seen before, it will leave you amazed and exhilarated. Believe it.
Cafe: Sanpin Coffee Yangshuo Store
No. 9 West Street, Yangshuo (Old Town), firstname.lastname@example.org
After an afternoon of shopping or a big lunch it is nice to seek refuge in a calm, cozy coffee shop. My favourite is Sanpin Coffee on the main shopping street. They have a large selection of teas and coffee (I like the milky jasmine green tea), comfy chairs, friendly staff, internet access and, luxury of luxuries, a western toilet upstairs!
Restaurant: Try local cuisine in small side street restaurants
I have no specific recommendation for where to dine but I would suggest avoiding the larger, hipper looking places lining the main street and try a simpler looking restaurant on a side street instead. It might not look like much but the food will be authentic, better quality, dirt cheap and absolutely delicious - a real Chinese experience. If you are unsure, ask a local where to go.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
If ever there was uncertainty over the declaration that fashion is art, it has been muted by a certain Miss Miuccia Prada. What a shoe! If Dennis Rodman was able to marry himself, can I marry my heels? After all, they are much more pleasant on the eyes... With footwear like this, who can blame a girl for her shoe fetish?